write and booksNo, this is not your waistline, your love handles or your mirror view. This is the middle of your novel.

We all have questions, problems and sags in the middle of our story. The story is there, the characters have their dialog down great, but something is missing. We know the beginning of the story and how the story should end; what about the middle?

This can be a rush, where we want to write everything in a hurry and get this part done and finished. Or, we have a tendency to string out every moment, detail and end up telling the reader instead of showing the most intricate parts of the novel.

Before any change or revision, read your novel again in your own voice. What? After six revisions, I know my story almost word by word. This is why you should pick up your manuscript, sit before a mirror or stand as if you were at a conference ready to read your book. No cheating.

As the middle stretches before you, the words get harder to read. You stammer and start over. This is okay. Mark on your manuscript where this happens and continue your reading. OOPS, didn’t I say the same thing a few pages ago, and mark the spot. Keep reading and keep marking. Soon, you realize some of your sags in the middle, but read more. You may discover even more sags.

After the reading is complete, your work just begins. Compile a short sentence or two about each chapter. Then you will know what each character is doing, where the action takes place, and then you see where the sagging starts. And, you can capture the intimate parts of the book and the timeline.

Are there areas you can delete and move the middle forward without telling the reader? Ouch! I know the word delete hurts, but a middle that sags is worse. Now, you have re-worked the middle, read again and again. Do the changes make your characters shine and come alive. If not, return to the sag and determine what you can do.

Maybe the middle just needs a gentle massage. If you can cut out the telling and redundancy in the middle, maybe the ending can be lengthened. Sometimes, we rush through the story and the ending. If you show detail throughout your story, your ending will hit you full force.

Check the ending again. Can you give more to your reader? Show the reason for the triangle or give a glimpse of the killer. Extend the ending to bring the reader to a fulfilling read.

Make certain your reader closes the covers of your book satisfied and able to smile as a tear slides down a face. Then, you have done your job as an author.

Remember to “Check your middle.”