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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Edited: I've decided to continue writing a WIP on Wattpad to get it over the finish line. If anyone is active on there, I'd be pleased to share chapter reads and comment by way of mutual encouragement.

The Property Virgin: And the house with a dark secret.

Psychological thriller/ Crime mystery. Female MC.


Reading articles on the Internet, many say getting past the midpoint stalls many a WIP. For me, that's been a reality.

I have three work in progress stories, all stuck at the midpoint, at around 45,000 words each. That's a lot of effort going to waste. At least they were stuck having written by the seat of my pants to get there. I know how I wanted them all to end but getting there from the midpoint has alluded me. One of them has been stuck on my hard drive for 3 years, even though I'm excited about the story so far, in fact that's true of them all..

Anyway, fed up with constantly staring at them, I decided to write a synopsis. I tried to do it in the two pages that agents usually ask for. It ended up at five and a half pages, and took 3 hours, but seeing as I don't intend submitting, I thought it an achievement.

Finally I can go on to finishing the book without wondering how to get to the end, but having done that, I'm going to try and do the same with the other two WIPs first.

Do you find moving on from the midpoint frustrating, and if so, how have you overcome the midpoint blues?

If it's not something you have a problem with, then I salute you in admiration of your creativity, but any tips would be welcome.
 

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I generally begin - set a scene - build a character or two, and let those to characters begin interacting - then allow those characters to add a new character or some conflict - whatever they need. At some point during the first few chapters, the ending arrives in my brain. I write it, and spend the rest of the time aiming for that ending. Modification happens, of course, but it fleshes out as it develops.

I don't find my self stuck, generally, and when that happens, introduce a new character, someone off the wall a bit, quirky. And sometimes keep that character, or eventually discard it, or use it in another novel. But that strategy gets me writing again easily. Some stay, some go, but we always get to the ending.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I tend to step away from the 'puter and pick up a pencil and paper.
Sounds like a plan. Maybe I should try that when I'm stuck instead of diving into a new story.
 

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I think genre is a consideration. As you alluded to, we've discussed this before on Kboards. When people bring up mysteries and thrillers, outlining makes a lot of sense to me. If the plot is super complex, outlining is better, imo.

My books are romance fantasies and I'm a major pantser. But I'm currently writing an epic fantasy headache. Releasing this book will mean a great deal to me personally as I wrote the monster five years ago. It's eight hundred pages. I've dwindled it down to five hundred--successfully. But you can imagine the headache. Anyway, the point of my tale is that I found writing the old manuscript and revising it in some ways far easier. Here I obviously had an "outline".

The middle of the book is always hard for pantsers. But the advantage to pantsing is it leads to complete twists in your novel (I know, outliners out there thinks this is a bunch of nonsense but I find--I find, I find--the surprises are a bit more genuine when unplanned in my writing). How to get out of writer's block. Step away. Do another project. Let it simmer. Or shelve it. Maybe all three need to be shelved? Hopefully not. Often I find the key to a plot while driving or not sleeping. Good luck to you!
 

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I go ahead and write the end that I want, beginning from where it's clear to me.

For example, using a hypothetical book:

I have 1-45K written, but now I'm stuck--but I know the final few scenes so I start writing.

I write an ending that's 17K long. If I am shooting for a 100K book for my genre, that means I now have to get from the 45K point to 83K point. That's 38K of story.

Usually I know some things that will happen along the way, so I write those scenes. Maybe that gives me another 10K.

So now I have to fill in the 28K left.

I look at the gaps and write a small summary of how to get from the start to the end of the gap and connect the dots. If I am stumped, I go by the old adage "have something bad happen" even if it seems rather random. I make it a mini story. Then I write it in those small bites or steps, which seem much more manageable.

(I know this violates the conventional wisdom of trying to make every event serve the theme and story, but it's a matter of priorities. If you absolutely need that word count for your genre (not to mention your page reads) and it's entertaining, then do it and conventional wisdom be damned. If you don't, then maybe you can make a quick transition and end up with a shorter but better book).
 

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What is this 'pencil and paper' of which you speak? 😁
Arcana that a few of us older denizens of the world of printed words still sneak out when technology (gasp!) fails or confounds! They require knowledge of rituals called "penmanship" that involve gods such as the one known as Palmer who gave the craft to humans in the dark times before electrons feed them from their chains. Sometimes digging them out from their dusty archival homes and letting them run free for a time soothes the soul, although there can be collateral damage. Many a short story has resulted from carelessness at such times.
 

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SO, about the time I began using film and slides early in my career :) And everyone knew the true definition of a 'darkroom' --

didn't mean to hijack this thread, but couldn't resist.
 

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I set it aside, work on a different project for a while, then come back to the original one that had me stuck. Usually I make some changes after reading through it. Sometimes the things that end up being changed were part of why I got 'stuck' in the middle (or wherever it was) in the first place. I've removed entire chapters that just seems to get in the way. When I do that I file them in a folder of 'spare parts' for similar stories, because usually those 'spare parts' consist of a scene or two. Very little, if anything, goes to waste.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I go ahead and write the end that I want, beginning from where it's clear to me.

For example, using a hypothetical book:

I have 1-45K written, but now I'm stuck--but I know the final few scenes so I start writing.
Yeah, I have done that on one occasion. I did it with In Search of Jessica by writing the twist in the last chapter and everything drove to that. That worked.
 

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What is this 'pencil and paper' of which you speak? 😁
The newest, niche, artisanal writing. Shaped lead inside an organic module, pressed onto wood pulp molded into sheets. One hundred percent analogue. Output entirely handcrafted. Very chic. Very now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I set it aside, work on a different project for a while, then come back to the original one that had me stuck.
Yeah, that's what I did with those three WIPs that I mentioned. I left them and wrote a trilogy at 95k per book and published those, so I never got back to the WIPs. Hopefully I'll finish them all this year and get them out there..
 

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The newest, niche, artisanal writing. Shaped lead inside an organic module, pressed onto wood pulp molded into sheets. One hundred percent analogue. Output entirely handcrafted. Very chic. Very now.
Perfect - we should all buy one. We can carry it behind our ear, handy in case we try cursive or use for book covers. Only comes in one color, but multi-shades of Gray if you have the right touch.
 

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Perfect - we should all buy one. We can carry it behind our ear, handy in case we try cursive or use for book covers. Only comes in one color, but multi-shades of Gray if you have the right touch.
Friend, you're in luck. I just happen to be a purveyor of these deluxe commodities and I'd be happy to welcome you into the exclusive luxury pastime of pencil companionship. For the low, low price of $29.95, yes you too may purchase a pencil of your very own, signed for authenticity, from my personal pencil artisan, Dixon Ticonderoga.

For a mere $9.99 more, simply choose from one of twenty select varieties of hardness as defined by the Parisian D'ecole de Crayon Poussant, and Dixon will begin handcrafting your order. Then voila, two years of anticipation later, your order will arrive via standard mail, welcoming you to the exciting world of pencil-owning.

We also sell sharpeners for 49 cents.
 

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Walking the dog. I find that I'm not even really thinking about the story too much, but then an idea pops up. I remember from Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow he spoke about feeling that walking helps stimulates the mind as it's at the perfect spot of getting your nervous system going without being so over exerting that you become distracted. I think that was just his feeling though, not anything research-based (if I remember correctly).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Are you trying to liven this place up AGAIN, Decon? Grabbing that ol CONTROVERSIAL topic out of the ether are we? Oh how BRAVE and NOBLE of you!

But the QUESTION remains, does ANY of this matter if NO ONE can hear the tree as it FALLS down in t
Someone has to liven it up or there would be nowhere top play now, would there?
 

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Reading articles on the Internet, many say getting past the midpoint stalls many a WIP. For me, that's been a reality.

I have three work in progress stories, all stuck at the midpoint, at around 45,000 words each. That's a lot of effort going to waste. At least they were stuck having written by the seat of my pants to get there. I know how I wanted them all to end but getting there from the midpoint has alluded me. One of them has been stuck on my hard drive for 3 years, even though I'm excited about the story so far, in fact that's true of them all..

Anyway, fed up with constantly staring at them, I decided to write a synopsis. I tried to do it in the two pages that agents usually ask for. It ended up at five and a half pages, and took 3 hours, but seeing as I don't intend submitting, I thought it an achievement.

Finally I can go on to finishing the book without wondering how to get to the end, but having done that, I'm going to try and do the same with the other two WIPs first.

Do you find moving on from the midpoint frustrating, and if so, how have you overcome the midpoint blues?

If it's not something you have a problem with, then I salute you in admiration of your creativity, but any tips would be welcome.
"Hello, darkness, my old friend..."

Yep. Me too. I almost always get stuck in the portion from Point B to Point C, most of the time. For my UF series, I was about 60% plotter, 40% pantser. For my current SF series, oh God, it's almost ALL pantsing. Which is nuts. I'm not usually that kind of writer, but something about this series is full of spontaneous ideas. I have an idea of that the story is but I let most of it just pop out of me on the pages when I sit down.

As for the midpoint blues, editing the previous chapters helps me. I think it's because sometimes whatever got me stuck has a solution that's hidden in another scene that's in front of it. Often, it'll trigger a new thought or at the very least, a fresh scene to try out. Sometimes flipping through the books before this one also can remind me "oh, hey, this plot thread was supposed to be addressed later on and maybe now's a good time to work on it."

One of my favorite things that someone said is (and I'm paraphrasing), "If all else fails, have a man with a gun walk in." It doesn't have to be quite that literal, but sometimes just having one truly random act of violence or genuine surprise also gets me unstuck. Think the infamous scene in Deep Blue Sea with Samuel L. Jackson (SPOILER ALERT) when the indisputable leader of the team with the most experience who definitely could've gotten them out of their disaster gets eaten mid-freaking-sentence. Now the entire team has to figure what the hell to do without their literal MVP. After introducing and fleshing out the random act of violence or chaos, the task just becomes tying the action or suspense sequence into the larger story and arc and that can smooth things out.

Lastly, if I absolutely can't bloody think of a way out of the mire, I hit up Mr. Chuck Wendig. One of the following lists usually has at least one nugget of helpful advice that spawns a way out of the mud.




25 Things You Should Know About Story Structure


NaNoWriMo Dialogues: “I Think I Suck And I’m Not A Real Writer”

Good luck! You've got this! Thanks for the thread. Sometimes you need to just commiserate.
 

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I am relying (increasingly) on pantsing to write books and trying not to stop. I rather like Dean Wesley Smith's advice (in WRITING INTO THE DARK) about just write the next sentence. Don't try to figure out "what happens next," but let the characters take you through it. Working that way is helping me recapture the sheer joy of the process that got me writing in the first place (back in a dark and troubled time when there were no ebooks, no useful and accessible self-publishing avenues. Yes, children there were such times).

It takes faith in the process, but that makes the process a good place to put all the faith that I might have squandered on politicians and other illiterates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Edited: I've decided to continue writing a WIP on Wattpad to get it over the finish line. If anyone is active on there, I'd be pleased to share chapter reads and comment by way of mutual encouragement.

The Property Virgin: And the house with a dark secret.

Psychological thriller/ Crime mystery. Female MC.
 
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