Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Murky Middle

So I’ve hit the 30K marker with my new WIP—which for different people, means different things. If you’re writing Middle Grade, 30,000 words might mean you’re almost done with your book. If you’re writing adult, sci-fi, or fantasy—you may be a quarter, a third… heck, you could just be at the beginning. But for me, "30,000 words in" typically means I’m approaching the murky middle.

Yep—murky. I mean, I’ve got the beginning, I know where it’s going, but all the little twists and turns to get to that phenom ending—not always so clear.

Hmmmm... how to handle the low-lying fog that clouds my brain 24/7 and seems to offer no light at the end of a dark tunnel

Usually I have three options:

1) Quit
2) Take a break—let my subconscious slice through the murky mist (of course, not so good for NaNoWriMo)
3) Plow through the murk

Okay –Option 1 is so not happening. I mean, if I quit, I’d never get to that awesome ending in my head, right?

I know some people who leave a big X in the middle of their story, write the ending, and then go back to the middle. Huh. Might work for them, but for me it feels like skipping to the ending of a really good book just because I want to know what happens—totally kills the motivation to read. Likewise, skipping to the end derails the motivation for my writing journey.

So Option 2: um… I do this from time to time. And it does tend to work, but I HATE not writing every day.

I find Option 3 typically works best for me. I trudge through the muck, jump in and slosh through at a snail’s pace. Because sometimes, I find a rare diamond in the muck—a character who just walks onto the page and explains EVERYTHING or a twist I totally did not see coming.

Yeah, the fog can be frustrating, but it can also be incredibly enlightening.


  1. It's option 3 for me too. It might end up being a patch that requires major editing after it's written, but you will find that jewel you mentioned that gives you an "Aha!" moment and all of a sudden the pieces fall into place. Keep writing :)

  2. Option 3 for me, too. I used to quit at the middle ALL THE TIME and start something new. After several rounds of that, you realize you just have to trudge through and finish something. Nothing feels better than crossing the finishing line with a rough draft. Except maybe actually publishing the book--but I wouldn't know about that feeling, YET :)


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