Celebrating the A to Z Blogging Challenge with quotations on the writing life.
Nobody reads a book to get to the middle.
Ah, the middle. The meat of the story is here, and yet it’s the place where writers often lose their way. I know I do. I liken it to the Slough of Despond where, as with John Bunyan’s deep bog, we sink under the weight of the story.
My high school fiction students are here right now. They look forward to the 30-page story assignment with such delight. And then they hit the middle and become mired in discouragement. Right about the time the first 20 pages are due, despair arrives. “I’ve run out of ideas!” they wail. “I hate this! Can I start over?”
I’ve said this many a time. My laptop houses a graveyard of abandoned stories.
My students have this benefit: they must finish. (I do allow them to start over, but they must be willing to put in the work—a lot of work.) “Press on to the ending,” I tell them. “Ramp up the conflict, work toward that Bleakest Moment. Keep spitting out words. Trust that ideas will come.”
Because ideas do come, but only if you keep writing. How many times have I written myself into a corner? And then discovered a clever solution that I’d never thought of? Readers of my novels have no idea how many times I wanted to quit.
Press on, writing friend. Trust your creative mind to provide ideas. Consider too, that novellas are gaining in popularity. Your story’s ending might be nearer than you think.