...at some point you begin to feel that you are flagging, that the book is going nowhere, that it is (hushed whisper) boring.
Many, if not all writers get this at some point. I know a lot of authors who say it kicks in at around 30,000 words. Sometimes they have finished the whole book and looking back they find the middle is stodgy, They have introduced the characters, set up the scenes, but then everything seems to flounder. This is the bit commonly known to writers as the Sagging Middle. Let's face it, if you as the author don't like the book at this point, it's unlikely that your audience is going to enjoy it.
So, what can you do about it? It is unlikely that you can cut the whole middle section out, after all, you need to get from A to B somehow! So here's a few tips that might just help.
Go back and check your overall plan. Does is still make sense? Is it going in the right direction? Often when we are writing, a book takes a turn that we had not anticipated and if we manhandle it back on track that may not be the way the story really should go. Be prepared to change it, if it feels forced or unnatural.
Read your manuscript as a reader. Be objective, if you can.
If you feel too close to it then perhaps you can put it aside for a while and then read it with fresh eyes. Remember, though, readers read for entertainment and pleasure, not for grammar or spelling or construction. If bits of the story don't excite you, take them out or re-write them. Make sure everything you put in adds value. Are you adding too much information, is it slowing the story and detracting from the pleasure of reading?
Discuss your work with someone. Perhaps you have a critique partner/group, or a fellow writer who is on the same wavelength. Ask them to read your work and comment. However, be careful not to ask too many people, or you could get too many differing opinions!
Do something else! This is the one that appeals to me most often. It doesn't matter whether its ironing, washing up, walking the dog, shopping, gardening, or even watching TV.
So that's it. I hope these ideas might help to get you over the point of that sagging middle.
Happy reading (and writing)
Melinda Hammond / Sarah Mallory
Published July 2016 - The Outcast's Redemption (Harlequin Historical)