Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 15, 2010

Novels – Sagging Middle Fixes

On Saturday author and Sprouts Magazine  Editor, Anita Nolan ran a workshop on improving your novel.  The workshop ran about 4 and half hours, but I think we could have easily have spent the whole day working on our novels.  Even if you have been successful in getting a few of your books published, it is important to continue to work on the craft of writing. 

One of the things Anita gave us was some strategies to fix a sagging middle story.  I thought they were really good and felt you could benefit from her advice.  I would highly recommend attending the next workshop she gives (maybe February). 

Here are the tips:

* Analyze the Stakes. What will happen to the character if he doesn’t get what he wants? If it’s not a serious loss, either physically or emotionally, readers won’t care. If that’s the case, up the stakes.

* Add a subplot, esp. one that occurs near the center of the story.

* Change a scene location to add tension.

* Add a problem/situation that makes the reader fear for a character

*Add another level of complication.

* Kill off a minor character (or perhaps kill a minor character’s goal)

* Add a character that will make the main character’s life more difficult.  (possibly a love interest.)

* Foreshadow a future problem or the climactic scene.

* Add a flashback about some mystery in the main character’s past with implications for their      current situation.

* Start “the ticking clock”—put a time constraint on solving a problem.

* Bring up an issue from the main character’s past that adds to their current problems.

* Reveal something the main character has kept hidden.

* Reveal something crucial to the main character or the reader.

You can visit Anita at

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thanks for the mention, Kathy!


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