The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lots of notes and thinking yesterday. I was hoping to come up with an overall feel for how to go about structuring the sagging middle, but that didn't happen. Very discouraging. However, this morning I did at least get an idea for what to do next: ramp up the tension by adding in more chase, starting at the the beginning of the middle third where the sagging kicks in. Thank goodness I at least have something to work on. The worst thing in the world is to have a day open for writing, and to have the willingness and desire to write, but to have no inspiration, no plan, no curiosity.

I can never remember anything I read about "how to plot" for very long; for some reason my brain is like a sieve when it comes to plotting. I have trouble understanding what I read about plotting, and I have trouble holding onto the concepts I read about. But this idea of the sagging middle being due to a mistaken view of three-act structure is interesting to me. It seems this guy Syd Field says that the middle third can really be divided in half, with two "pinches" surrounding the midpoint of the story. He says (or so he is paraphrased) that driving the story toward the midpoint is what keeps the middle from sagging.

When I look at what I have, my ms is clearly divided into thirds. Most mss are this way, I think, because American writers just naturally tell stories that way. Our culture tends to tell stories that have three acts, so that's what we know and feel comfy with. It's not like we always try to construct mss according to pattern; we just do. So anyway, my ms has three acts. I never intended them, but there they are, plain as day on the paper. I even know what the midpoint is. But one big problem--as I see it as of yesterday--is that my midpoint is a revelation that isn't strong enough. It's a realization and change of direction and goal. But there's nothing much driving it. It just sort of happens, and it's not that big a deal. I need to think how to make it important, and better yet, to make it a sort of "twist." It's unfortunate that my brain doesn't work this way--my brain is more of a trudging long distance runner creatively, than a powerful bursting sprinter--but surely the brain can be retrained.

Anyway, today must work on the one thing I know I want to do. And pray that something else presents itself after that.

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