Many stories are told naturally in chronological order. This happens, and then this happens next, and so on. But what do you do when future events are not as clear as the one in front of you?
Some writers keep writing the beginning over and over trying to perfect it. They think maybe, just maybe if those first chapters are perfect they will provide the launching pad miraculously for the entire novel.
Or rewriting the beginning is another form of the “P” word: procrastination.
You have a beautiful, well-written beginning to a novel, well then, Bravo. If you don’t have a story arc, a premise or foundational through-line, or a plot of any kind, you may not get any further.
Is writing from the middle a writing trick? Not really a trick let’s call it another way of looking at your story.
Writers “see” stories in their heads. Every time our writer’s group meets we talk story. There is a bridge between visualizing an idea and piecing together the events that turn that idea into a compelling story.
You can spend years at one end of that bridge.
What’s another way to look at a story instead of from beginning to end? Think of your story in terms of what happens on an arc. The arc represents the events that move the story forward.
Beginning Middle End
A vivid event may not happen early in a story, but that’s no reason not to write it. Write whatever part of a story that is clear in your mind, and keep writing until the pieces fit together.
I call it writing from the middle. What it really means is: don’t let any form of procrastination block getting the story out of your head and on to paper. Put yourself into the story, not at the beginning, not at the end.
Right in the middle. Stay for a while, take in the possibilities for what could and should be happening and let the story expand from there.
Stories are puzzles, and the pieces don’t always fit together perfectly the first time around. Or sometimes they fit too perfectly. But the only way to see the final picture is to have all the pieces.
Keep writing. Don’t think about what’s next in the story, but rather what calls to you in the story. Write that.
Walt Whitman wrote:
The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place.
Use the “gush, the throb, the flood” for something new every time you sit down to write and the first draft will be done in no time. The pieces will fit together, I promise you.
Keep telling your story out loud to yourself and to others. Write the parts, the pieces that move you. Put the pieces on the arc. Assemble as you go and don’t stop until your story comes together.
Try writing from the “middle” but no matter what,
Christina for PenPaperWrite
If you want the next step in writing from the middle, learn STORYBOARDING in the next 60 Scenes® Writing Method Workshop in Atlanta, GA on January 20th 2018. Register here – www.60scenes.com
Class size is limited to 10 attendees*
*Class is currently half full. Register now is you want a spot for January 20th