There’s something to be said for the middle of a book.
Not the middle of the middle. Just the edge where you topple from the beginning of the book to the ledge of the middle. Then you realize you are about to go toe-deep into something more than you planned. That precipice of something you can’t quite put your finger on. The moment when you realize that you are fully committed to your book.
I never used to be what I call a linear writer. I used to write scene after scene in no real order and then stitch them together. The problem is, I’m not an exceptionally good ‘sewer’ when it comes to crafting a story out of it. I still do write scenes as they come to me though and so they find their place in the book.
The bulk of my writing is, these days, linear. I write from start to finish without diverting too much. That is what has worked for me as a writer I find in writing better and faster than I have before. By avoiding the ‘asides’ and keeping going, I’ve managed to keep my progress in a firm set of beginning–>middle—>end.
With a couple of exceptions, of course.
When doesn’t my life live by way of exception?
Thing is, when I used to be more of a stitcher, I would write some pretty fabulous scenes if I do say so myself. It allowed me to build up my own excitement to get to that scene. I wrote the majority of Erstwhile that way. It was a constant flow of excitement to reach a certain point. The little that I write fanfiction these days is still written that way.
The problem is? I can tell when I do that. Other readers might not notice it but I do. And when you as a writer recognize your own flaws in your writing process they can stick out like a sore thumb.
Recognizing your flaws as a writer is very important. It lets you know your weaknesses and how you can write around them. I know where I start to lag is in the denouement where things need to be wrapped up. Mostly because I want to keep going. I NEED to keep going. But that isn’t how books are. Books need their conclusions, they need their endings.
The hardest part I had found with this linear sense of writing is that I worry I’m not as fantastical as I was in, say, Of Tea and Chess. Or that the mystery isn’t there. That is, of course, until I realized what the books have become.
They’ve become better.
The writing has become tighter and less froofy. The sense of wonder is still there but less dependent on hand-holding the reader.
So yes, I still am a fan of stitching my middles together because gosh middles are hard.
But I’m no longer as intimidated by them.