Margaret is stuck in the middle…

I’m sure lots of other writers and indeed most of us who have decisions to make often get stuck in the middle. I’m currently working on the first draft of a new family saga set in 1946. I know how it starts. I know how it ends. I’ve written the first 40,000 words and although I know I’m going to have to revise these 40,000 words several times (yes, I have to put them in the right order, ha ha ha), they’ve more or less set up the story to my satisfaction.

So now I’ve got everyone into trouble, and they need to get out of trouble. They don’t know how, and neither do I. So they’re all sitting on the wall smoking and looking at their finger nails and chewing gum while I make my mind up.

I think I’m going to leave them to sulk and mutter among themselves for a while. I’m going to write the ending in which there’ll be some kind of happy-ever-after. Or at least I’ll leave my hero and heroine in places they are happy to be.

I know I’m going to have to get going on that middle part of the story fairly soon, but I’m hoping that having a half-decent ending already written will help me to sort out the middle part, during which my hero and heroine are going to need to have problems, my bad guy might get a great opportunity to ruin their lives, the hero’s first girlfriend might realise she wants him back, the heroine might decide she’s out of her depth and is going to take an overdose…

This bridge is not going to fall into the river. You will get to the other side!

This bridge is not going to fall into the river. You will get to the other side!

Stop panicking, I keep telling myself. Just keep walking over the bridge, keep your eyes on the prize, and forget about the river flowing hundreds of feet below!

10 thoughts on “Margaret is stuck in the middle…

  1. Very true, Margaret. They say that successful writing’s a lot to do with persistence – finishing the damn thing when, at one stage, it looked impossible!

  2. Oooh, I know this one too well (but don’t know how to fix it for your stranded characters!!). I think, however difficult it is, that it is, as you say, about writing the bits you do know… and then, magically, the way ahead becomes clear. At least, I hope it does or my characters better get some gum and sit down next to yours.

  3. Sounds like you’ve set up the story perfectly Margaret. As in real life there are several directions we can go in and they and you are just choosing the right one. Pondering until the way becomes clear sounds highly sensible. Intentional pondering (do like that word)is the way I would try and view it 🙂 Says she who of course always ponders and never panics!:)

  4. I hate it when characters sit down and admire the view – but you will make them behave – you have done it before!!!

  5. Yes, intentional pondering – that’s what I’m doing! I have intentional pondering attacks, me!

  6. Ah, I’m in the same sort of place as you this morning, Margaret……although at least you can see the sky on your bridge. I’m stuck in a tunnel on the train, three quarters of the way through, and the engine’s just ticking over. Maybe I’ll come out of my tunnel and my train will go across your bridge( that’s metaphorical bridge, not the one in the picture) and we’ll complete our journeys very soon…oh yes we will!!!!!

  7. I’m still at the ‘stick everything down on the page and let the characters work it out themselves’ stage. I’m sure there’s now a kitchen sink in there too… So, you have company in your pondering, Margaret. Think I might sit on the wall and chew gum along with my characters for a while, see what happens….

  8. Kill ’em all off. That’s what youngest daughter did when – aged about four – she came up with this most improbable idea of a romance between Floppy Bunny and Mr Bump. Floppy Bunny in a remarkably short space of time produced nine children and a baby but then the author had no idea where the story would go. The children might have been numerous but they never acquired even a single name between them and though Floppy Bunny and Mr Bump had lots of adventures the children were always rather a drag. The baby who might have been expected to elicit some sympathy became even more faceless than the children and so it came to pass that one day they all died of some unspecified but quite lethal illness. Mr Bump went to work as usual and Floppy Bunny was sad. But there it was. As the budding author said afterwards she could always undead them if she needed them and meanwhile Floppy Bunny and Mr Bump could go on a nice holiday with their cat.

  9. Love it, Fennie – thank you for giving me a laugh! I might kill a few of ’em off – but not all of them, that would be TOO much like the ending of Hamlet, and it’s been done :-).

  10. Good advice, Margaret! Hope your characters sort themselves out soon 🙂

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