What Middles Should Do

I borrowed this list from chapter eight (Forms and Structures) of Writing Fiction: Creative and Critical Approaches by Amanda Boulter.

What middles should do:

  1. Tell the story (the beginning introduces it, the ending resolves it)
  2. Increase the momentum of the story
  3. Complicate the hero/ine’s path and intensify the potential for failure
  4. Build tension in the relationships between the characters
  5. Reveal the hero/ine’s emotional turmoil
  6. Utilise suspense and surprise
  7. Tantalise readers with a drip-drip of information
  8. Vary the pace and rhythm of scenes
  9. Develop the sub-plots in a novel (to avoid the one-dimensional story)
  10. Introduce all remaining sub-plots and characters

Questions to ask:

  1. Have you used coincidences or contrivance to develop the plot?
  2. Is the struggle weaker in the middle of the story than at the beginning?
  3. Do you relieve the suspense too soon? Or too late (when the reader has begun to lose interest)\?
  4. Does every scene contribute to the forward momentum of the story?
  5. If a scene does not move the story forward, why is it there?
  6. Are the sub-plots interwoven with the main story?
  7. Are surprises foreshadowed?

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