Sagging Middle Syndrome

I have been tromping through this draft with all the grace and delicacy of a grasshopper stuck in tar this week month. It finally occurred to me that what I'm dealing with is Sagging Middle Syndrome.

All writers face this, I know. I don't need to preach to the choir.

I decided to read up on some tips for fixing a sad, saggy middle, and in an effort to internalize the pointers (and avoid my story for *that much* longer), I'm going to share them with you.

Tip #1: When blogging about Sagging Middle Syndrome, don't make jokes about your own saggy stomach. Because everyone else who is blogging about SMS has already made that joke.

Tip #2: Tension. Build it. It's like blowing up a balloon: don't let it go too soon or it will skitter across the room making fart noises and land in a rumpled heap. Or something. Someone make that work. *delegates someone*

Tip #3: This is where your subplots get to take center stage. For just a little while, at least. This is where you change gears and let other bits of the story, besides the main conflict, come out to play.

Tip #4: Raise the stakes. This is kind of like building tension. And kind of not. Make your protag fail. Rain consequences down upon their head! Let relationships form and strengthen, and then make trouble for them.

So now, I beg. Someone who has seen the other side of SMS: what advice can you give us floundering grasshoppers?


Julie Maughon said...

Tip #1 is one to live by, for sure. Haha.

Tip #3 seems the most exciting to me. It's like the playground where all the tension and stakes and other stuff get to hang out and make friends. It's kind of making my mouth water, and I'm not even there yet. Does anyone else's mouth water over something that isn't food? Weirdo.

*waits patiently for an SMS survivor to tell his or her tale, since I've got nothing*

Anonymous said...

Great tips! One of the hardest things for me is actually admitting to SMS. My middle? No, it's not boring at all. ;)

S.P. Bowers said...

Great advice! I'm getting close to my sagging middle and I'm going to use some of this advice!

Angelina C. Hansen said...

I like the way Jay Asher put it. "Chase your characters up trees, then throw rocks at 'em."