follow a rookie writing his first novel

The saggy middle

No, I’m not talking about the excess weight around my waist that has been carefully sculptured over the past five decades, but rather that part of the novel that is neither the beginning nor the end.

Actually I’m rather excited about it. Up until now it was only something I had read about in how-to books. A part of the story that can run out of gas, or meander along without purpose, just sort of waiting for the end to appear. Free wheeling along, making up the word count, with very little actually going on. A bit tired, like me on a day after the night before.

The thing is though about a saggy middle, the actual thing is, you have to have written enough words to qualify for one! By my reckoning, as I’m aiming at a respectable 80,000 words, 20,000 may be considered the beginning and 20,000 the end. As I have just surpassed the 28,000 barrier, I’m officially in the middle.

So, saggy or not – bring it on!



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5 thoughts on “The saggy middle

  1. Matin, that made me laugh. If I’m not careful, I get bouncy middles and saggy ends.

  2. Sometimes the meandering middle can be the good part, and the inevitable return of the plot can be a letdown, like when recess is over and it’s time for Education to resume.

    The classic example in movies is Rio Bravo, which provided the model for The Avengers. When it works, it can work really well.

    • Yes, I suppose any part of a novel can be the best part. The ones I really don’t like are where the beginning is the best bit, becaue then I feel a little cheated by the rest.

      • That happens with movies, too. I still remember sitting in the theater watching the first half hour of The Matrix and wondering if the rest of the picture was going to live up to the beginning (it didn’t — good but not that good). And some critics have pointed out that Anne Hathaway is actually a mixed blessing in Les Miserables because she’s so powerful and (spoiler 🙂 ) her character dies very early on. The rest of the picture can’t match that level. I enjoyed it a lot (twice), but it is a letdown.

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