Sunday, April 3, 2011

That Sagging Middle

I'm a great beginner.

Opening lines of stories come easily to me.  Sometimes, entire chapters will suddenly spring to life in my head (often in the midst of a business meeting, church services or other inconvenient time). 

The end of stories come pretty easily, too.  In fact, I once started a story knowing little more than an ending scene.  That was a rarity since I usually see the beginning and the end of the story together.  As I sit down to write, I usually have a very clear picture of how the story begins and where the characters will be at the end.

Unfortunately, the middle of the story is my nemesis.  Like my own anatomy, the middle of my stories tends to be saggy and shapeless when what I'd really like them to be is trim and defined.  So what am I to do?

A writer friend suggested an online class on PACING by author Mary Buckham.  The idea appealed to me, so I signed up before I could get cold feet.  During the very first class, I had an "aha moment."  Mary suggested that my love of thrillers might be hurting the pace of the cozies I also like to write.  She asked me to look at them and see if I might be speeding up the pace in the cozies faster than I intended as I was subconsciously choosing the faster pace of the thrillers.

I'd never thought of that.  Mary said by slowing the story to a more comfortable pace, I'd be able to build my story and add the chit chat and little details readers of cozies want in their books.  I'd have a stronger, firmer story, too.

Interesting food for thought.  Now, if she could only do something for this midriff bulge.....

Keep smiling!
 ~ Stephanie

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