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Friday, March 16, 2012

The Dreaded Middle Part

Well, in typical fashion, I have reached a "stuck place" and as always, it comes at Chapter 7.

We have a mystery (a murdered girl), we have suspects, we have a heroine whose interaction just took a dangerous turn. Now it's time for her to get mad and get even. On the relationship subtext, facets of her love life are coming to a showdown, and she must decide what she wants to do and how to handle it.

The "stuck" part comes from deciding what Tracy is going to do in each case as well as, and perhaps more significantly, having to figure out the motives and actions of each of the players on the antagonist side. Is this one a bad guy or another victim of circumstance? Did this big event happen as an accident or part of a clever plan? Are all the baddies united or are there factions within?

All those questions usually get answered by a very undisciplined process of my own. I start jotting one-liner statements of this person's actions or motives and then follow the thread to who reacts to it and how. Steps get rewritten, revised, new things added until I have a good idea where it's all going. Sometimes a scene will begin to develop as a result. Then I start adding to the manuscript. It might even result in retooling something earlier on.

How do other writers diligently create an outline before writing a single word? I don't think I could do it. Usually, I'm just too eager to get to creating the manuscript. The process is always fluid, always flexible.

I absolutely love it.

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