Muddling through the murky middle…

Forums Fiction Plotting Muddling through the murky middle…

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    Okay, I’m still in the brainstorming stage of the next story but am looking ahead to when I’m going to be prepping my plot. One of the areas I struggle with in my stories is the middle (no surprise, right?). I find that I don’t get it exciting enough. It doesn’t build up into the 3rd act the way I want it to.

    So, my question is, what do you do to progressively complicate the 2nd act of your stories? How do you keep the middle from sagging and becoming boring? Any tips or thoughts on this will be greatly appreciated 😊

    Herewith, maybe, you will rekindle hearts to the valor of old in a world that grows chill. ~Círdan


    Well, it’s a little hard to give really useful advice, as I don’t know what the story is about, but generally speaking, what I would do is take some important elements (problems, characters, etc.) that are introduced in the beginning, and re-run them in the middle section with additional depth, before bringing them back for resolution in the final round.

    For example, Ester is a nurse. In the beginning, she’s worried about one of her patients who is really sick, and eventually dies. Toward the middle, Ester learns the patient was so grateful for all her help during his sickness he left her all his money, which is great, except now she’s suspected of murdering him. Then, at the end, all is resolved. Ester is declared innocent, and we leave her rich and happy. That’s far too simplified, of course, but does that make any sense?


    I don’t have a ton of experience, but one thing I’ve been trying to do while figuring out my plots is to see what steps are required for the antagonist to accomplish his goal and what steps are required for the protagonist to either accomplish his goal or stop the antagonist from accomplishing his and then distribute those through the middle so that there is a sense of stuff moving in either a positive or negative direction. This also helps with figuring out things for the antagonist and protagonist to do during the plot.

    This may only work for certain story types though, and I’m still trying to figure out my own plot and what works for me, so results may vary.


    @zee yes, that does make sense, and is something I hadn’t considered before.

    that sounds like a good idea.

    Thank you both!

    Herewith, maybe, you will rekindle hearts to the valor of old in a world that grows chill. ~Círdan

    Zachary Holbrook

    @claire_tucker Pain. Find out what your protagonist wants most and take it from them. Then figure out how this will force them to change and move towards the end of their character arc.

    K.M Weiland has some great articles on the midpoint at her website, Helping Writers Become Authors. One of the things she says is that the event right in the middle of your story should be where the protagonist comes face-to-face with himself. He sees himself for what he is truly is and has to decide how to move forward.

    How exactly this looks like will depend on what kind of character arc you have– what lies does your character believe at the beginning? How can he reject them and grow towards truth? Or (if you have a negative arc), how can be presented with a chance to embrace the truth, but reject it and descend further into his lies and the consequences thereof?

    おはいよう. 日本語は好きです .


    @toklaham-veruzia I’m sorry for taking an age to reply to you! Thank you–your reply is very helpful, especially as my one character has a negative arc.

    Herewith, maybe, you will rekindle hearts to the valor of old in a world that grows chill. ~Círdan

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