When I started this blog it was meant to talk about writerish stuff. It’s taking a rather winding path in that regard, but I thought I’d jump back on that wagon briefly…
I saw a friend on FB saying she was in the saggy middle rut, and it came up today in the editing course I was running. What do you do when you hit the proverbial wall and your poor little novel loses steam?
Here is my suggestion; go back to two things. Your central conflict and your character’s goals. What is the conflict they’re faced with? Have you slowed down because they’re not doing anything about it? If they’re treading water, throw something at them to force them off their asses and back into conflict territory. Keep them focused on that conflict and overcoming it. The other thing is their goal; what did they want at the beginning of the story? How are they going about achieving it, or how are they still being blocked from doing it? A character with a goal is one with shit to do.
That goal can be personal (getting a promotion and then having to deal with the consequences of getting it) and/or it can have to do with the larger conflict (wants to find shelter during apocalypse but has to go through swamp monsters to get it).
If you’re stalled, ask your characters what they want. Ask them what the big conflict is. Then torture them with some obstacles that show the reader the kind of people they are as they work through those obstacles. That may get your pen moving again.