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The middle

A lot is made of new beginnings, and rightly so. New beginnings are exciting and fun. The possibilities are endless. A fresh new start. A blank page. For a writer, it can be scary or challenging. The beginning is critical because it can set the tone for the whole book. We have a few pages to hook a reader. Fail at that and they close the book and put it back on the shelf. The beginning is so important that most publishers will make a decision based on your first ten pages or so.

The same is made of endings. The completion of a task, the final act of a hero, and dramatic conclusions are huge. Big endings leave the reader with something to remember, a sense of accomplishment. Bringing a story to a fitting end can be very rewarding for both the writer and the reader. Get it wrong and the reader is unsatisfied and less likely to buy your next book. Creating a good ending can put a lot of pressure on a writer to tie up loose ends and have everything converge on the last few pages.

But for me, the middle- between the hook and the final curtain- is what makes a good book, good. The middle is where you get to know the characters and begin to feel what they are feeling. You get emersed in their world, feel their problems. You walk along their journey with them, root for them. In the middle, you find out what the book is really about. The hook at the beginning will get readers to start your book, but the middle will keep them reading and prevent the dreaded "DNF". Did Not Finish. (insert writer's cringe here)

I've heard a lot of writers say that they love writing the beginning and the end but have trouble with the middle. Not me. I really enjoy the middle. Especially when I can give a glimpse into why the character is doing what they're doing that might or might not directly relate to the story. For me, the middle is where you can really sink your teeth into the meat of the character and grow them as people.

In the middle you can relax. Ramble a bit and throw in a joke or two. You can get away with a few strays into side character development. Without the pressure of the hook or the build to the climax, you can really let yourself be the writer you want to be. All three parts are vital to a good book, but the beginning and the end are more for the business side of the industry. The middle is for the writer. Perhaps that's why I like it so much.


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