What with all the blogfests, it's been over two weeks since I've actually written a blog post from scratch. Which is fine, since the WIP is devouring all available brain power. I've been writing (a little quick math here) an average of 960 words a night (wow, higher than I thought) since May 10th (let's call that 21 days). Plus the 6K-odd background story that drops in neatly, it turned out, as Chapter 6, that makes for about 26,300 words so far.
My target (highly theoretical target) is 85K. So I am rapidly approaching the dreaded Middle of the Story.
Dreaded for some. Some people dread beginnings, some dread middles. I seem to have some trouble with endings, personally.
I am a planner. Not a pantser. I start writing when I've got a pretty good map of where we're going and how we're getting there. That map is especially important in the middle, after the characters have gotten a good start and brought their own distractions and quirks into play. I need to keep them focused and moving toward the story's climax.
More importantly, I need to keep them moving toward the next set piece, the next landmark in the story. By getting from landmark to landmark, we'll get to the climax. I hit my first landmark in Chapter 3, 4 and 5 deal with the results and mention the climax, Chapter 6 is the flashback to provide some context for that climax, and now I'm starting 7 with the push toward the next landmark.
Side note: chapter numbers mean nothing, to me. Some people plan by chapter numbers, but I don't.
My map has three major landmarks before we get to the climax. Each landmark is a fairly direct and logical result of the previous landmark and puts my characters in position for the climax.
Since I tend to have a problem with endings, my map peters out around the climax. To some degree, I need to see the lay of the land once I get there, and to some degree I'm trusting my characters to tell me how they're going to resolve this. After writing umpteen novels, I can be confident in that much.
I used to be more of a pantser and I wrote lots of rambly stories that ended up in the weeds. Mind you, the weeds can be fun when you're the writer... but as a reader I've come to appreciate how important the underlying plot skeleton of a story is. And thus I draw maps.
Do you dread the middle? What part of your map tends to be sketchier than the others?