I borrowed this list from chapter eight (Forms and Structures) of Writing Fiction: Creative and Critical Approaches by Amanda Boulter.
What middles should do:
- Tell the story (the beginning introduces it, the ending resolves it)
- Increase the momentum of the story
- Complicate the hero/ine’s path and intensify the potential for failure
- Build tension in the relationships between the characters
- Reveal the hero/ine’s emotional turmoil
- Utilise suspense and surprise
- Tantalise readers with a drip-drip of information
- Vary the pace and rhythm of scenes
- Develop the sub-plots in a novel (to avoid the one-dimensional story)
- Introduce all remaining sub-plots and characters
Questions to ask:
- Have you used coincidences or contrivance to develop the plot?
- Is the struggle weaker in the middle of the story than at the beginning?
- Do you relieve the suspense too soon? Or too late (when the reader has begun to lose interest)\?
- Does every scene contribute to the forward momentum of the story?
- If a scene does not move the story forward, why is it there?
- Are the sub-plots interwoven with the main story?
- Are surprises foreshadowed?