Those Darn Middles
It's fall, it's dark early, i't isn't very warm. I've begun muddling through the two book length projects I started earlier this year. Optimistically I declared to myself that I would have a manuscript of at least one of them done by the date my book came out last year. News flash! Not going to happen. It's the MIDDLE that is giving me fits.
Some writers outline their whole book before they begin. This is probably the sane, organized way to do it. I equate this with the backpackers who place everything in different color stuff sacks. Not me! My writing is a messy process. I never know what is going to happen next. I don't recommend this, but it's the way I've always been,
So anyhow. The end is easy to write. So is the beginning. It is the middle that trips me up every time. I am halfway through the kayak memoir and the struggle is real. I must have done some interesting things, I think. There has got to be more to write about. But sure enough, it remains elusive. The novel is exhibiting the same frustrating quality. It's enough to make someone sit on the couch and eat pear cobbler instead*.
What to do? I keep reminding myself that a book is one scene at a time. You don't need to think of it as 300 pages. Write about the time Carolyn and I got stranded out for the night on a big rock, I think. When I'm done with that, I write another scene. And it doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be contiguous. My writing is highly fragmented. I am not like those writers who start at A and end at Z. It's all over the alphabet for me.
If I dare stretch this metaphor farther, life is kind of like this. In the beginning, there are tons of possibilities. Maybe I'll be a ballerina! Or a fairy princess! (Well, we can't all be grounded in reality). The end, I know what I want: to retire as early as I can, to hike as much as I can. But this middle part? It's challenging. Options are a bit more limited. Things get thrown randomly in your path, things you may not have planned for. In life as in writing: one scene at a time.
I'd love to hear from other writers about their "middle" process. Go to the contact me tab and let me know!