Hello friends and welcome to another sagging edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Friends, I had an epiphany last night: the reason I fail so often to finish drafts, the reason I bounce from project to project is because… I absolutely fucking suck at middles.
Can We Skip to the Good Part?
My favorite part about a new idea is when I come up with the ending. I won’t start even outlining a new project until I have a firm idea of how the story will end. Even if I plan for it to be a series, such as a trilogy or even longer, I need to know both the micro-ending of the first book and the macro-ending of the entire series. This is part of my planner tendencies: I do not like to set out on a journey without knowing the destination. So, the moment the ending clicks into place in my brain is the moment I know that the new idea has legs and is a story I know I can write.
The problem is, I rarely get to draft the endings I am often so excited to dream up, because as soon as I step out of the first act my muse goes into creative hibernation, and all the great ideas I got when brainstorming the project either turn sour or outright die.
I always seem to think that the middle will simply appear from the fertile ground of a great beginning and reach toward the clear blue sky that is my ending. You’d think I would know better by now. But what can I say? I’m an eternal optimist…
Floating Heads In an Empty Void
I think part of the reason I struggle with middles is due to my… let’s call it minimalist writing style. I’m more of a character-driven kind of writer, and I don’t do descriptions or action as well as I do conversations. So, after the initial set-up of a story, and it comes time to flesh out the world more and provide conflict and plot outside of the main thread, I flounder. Unfortunately, in fantasy, characters can’t just talk their way through the entire book.
Alas, as with most things creative, you have to hone the parts of your craft that natural talent cannot carry alone. And while I am certain that there are writers out there that can breeze through their middles without feeling intimidated by all the empty space that needs filling, I have learned that I’m not one of them. Yet, if I never swallow that fear, I’ll never finish.
It’s funny. I thought I had gotten over the “its bad so I shouldn’t write it” mindset of the first draft process. But the last two projects have shown me precisely where I fall into the trap of abandoning ideas prematurely, and it is right at the start of that second act. It might be uncomfortable and it might press on my muse in ways that make me confront the gaps in my storytelling… but I need to push through the wall if I ever want to see what’s on the other side.
See, this is the kind of writer’s block that isn’t real. It’s a phantom, a shadow, an illusion. And now that I’ve shed light on it, maybe I can finally banish its creeping tendrils from the recesses of my mind where it has hidden for the last fifteen years.
So, off I go, to smash that wall of empty cardboard boxes. Until next time, friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Follow My Socials
Twitter | Instagram | Spoutible
Leave a Reply