The middle is the bridge transporting the reader, you, from the beginning to the end of the story.
Writing a book takes time and research in addition to story and persistence. The journey over the bridge from “I have got a great idea” to “they lived happily ever after” is tortuous. Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, the time gets spent. Plotters can take months designing their chapters, pacing the action, setting up the plot points, and defining the episodes plus defining and establishing characters before they write a word. Pantsers do all this on the fly as they write. I am a mix of the two.
I outline the story, identify each character and their roles, figure out what themes I intend to use, and know I must crush my antagonist(s). With all this in hand, I write and see where it takes me. Often, my characters react in ways I don’t expect. When that happens, I allow them to take over to see where it leads. If it works for me, I adjust my outline, if necessary, and explore the outcome of this new path.
Never say “never.” My newest work-in-progress (WIP) is Transition, the sixth book in my political thriller and suspense Seduction Series. One of its themes is profit over people, specifically in the financial sector of hedge funds and private equity. I’m not exactly sure how I got here, but I do know that at a very early stage in my adult years, I vowed to let financial people handle financial stuff and never looked back. Now, here I am, researching and translating all that lingo and jargon into a language I can understand so I can share that rarefied world by writing about it.
I am in the “middle” section of Transition. The set-ups for all the themes are in place, damage done, and people hurt—but not enough. I’ve done research on making money, and yes, the more you have the more you make. What I’m doing now is learning how to lose money on a massive scale — millions and billions. A very different level of risk than most of us face every day, although, in thinking about it, the impact is relative and just a matter of zeros.
The “middle,” arguably the hardest part of a book to write, is challenging. I have test every scenario I’ve read about, watched via streaming tv series and movies, and created against the background I’ve already established. This is where some writers get jammed. Nothing seems to work either within the established plot or for the characters or both. Now what? The whole process grinds to a halt.
For me, it is just a matter of giving myself time to work out the puzzle and find the missing piece. In a way, I get to play detective where the “end” is the murder, the “beginning” is the why, and the “middle” is the how—figuring that out is all about the details. If it turns out the “beginning” doesn’t support the “middle,” I always give myself permission to change it — since I created it in the first place.
Writing is a solitary process. However, it is not done in a vacuum. My work synthesizes my experiences, observations, political and socio-economic local and global policies, and stressors on our planet that threaten basic survival. For me, putting all of it into an impactful yet fun and exciting rollercoaster kind of context is a huge source of satisfaction.
The only thing that tops my writing experience is connecting with readers, such as you, who dive into my books and take their satisfying journeys with me. Thank you.