How rich is your story?
I love reading new books. Sometimes, if I’ve read the back flap and the first few paragraphs, I know that it’s going to be good. And I wait until I have a chunk of time to read it.
Unfortunately, some books don’t meet up to my expectations. Other times, they wow me and I never would’ve guessed. You can’t always judge a book by a cover.
There’s this thing called – the middle of the book. And there’s this term called – the sagging middle. Even if you’re not a writer, I’m sure you can figure out what it means. I was so excited to read this certain book, it’s not a new release or a big winner, but the story sounded interesting. And in all fairness, it was well-written, clever…but it moved…so…slow…like grandma-behind-the-wheel slow. Yes, all the pieces fell together, but I forced myself through the middle – down one side and up the other.
I want the clues and the foreshadowing, but I need more than just dialogue to carry the middle. I need the first act climax. I need the big twist at the end of the second act that changes the story. And I need a tense build up to an exciting final act. And a great emotional arc always helps.
Sadly, the middle of this certain book was definitely skim. As in I skimmed major parts of the middle. And honestly, I don’t think I missed much by skimming.
But, I learned.
I learned that surprising the reader and introducing new elements into the story is important.
Have you skim-proofed your story?