Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson

The middle’s not hard, it’s impossible.


I’m at a sticky, thorny part of this book I’m writing (aka “the middle”) and I have to set the scene for dastardly doings, but I don’t want the villain to be predictable. On the other hand, I don’t want to sacrifice one of my good guys to evil, or to bring in a previously unknown person because deus ex machina, anyone?

Hmm. Sometimes, just acknowledging this kind of dilemma is enough.

Layers upon layers of intrigue it is.

Author: G.L. Jackson

Writer, reader, amateur photographer. Mostly, I just like pretending to be a different person each day of the week.

10 thoughts on “The middle’s not hard, it’s impossible.

  1. The very middle is always the hardest part for me. I’m not sure what it is, but I always seem to get to a point where I get really stuck. I guess there’s kind of an awkward transition between introducing the characters and setting up the story and then getting into the main plot/conflict. Anyway, good luck!


    • Thank you! I am one of those people who sometimes has to just talk out a situation or a potential plot point in order to convince myself about what should (or has to) happen next. I’m usually tempted to skip ahead to the end, but then I’m stuck threading the pieces together. To me, that’s like trying to paste together wet pasta. I’d rather bull my way through this one and see it through to the end in a linear fashion. At least I have it outlined and know where it’s supposed to go, although that’s always up for grabs based on what happens along the way.


      • Ahh I’m the same way; I never write out of order. That does mean having to plow through some of the less interesting parts of the plot, but I’d rather do that than have to go back and add things in later. Same here … I typically have an outline of the whole plot so at least I know what’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to get it down on paper.


        • Working with outlines is something I’m training myself to do more and more. The problem with the less interesting parts of the plot is that if I find them less interesting, so will my readers. To remedy that, I’m always looking to spice up the slower-paced parts so they’ll become as fascinating as they need to be to hold the reader’s interest. There’s always a way.


          • That’s a good point! I find that having an outline usually helps me to leave out really long, pointless parts. But there are still times when I struggle between the bigger plot points … Usually I try to keep it interesting by focusing on character development, interactions between the characters, etc.


            • How to get from Big Point A to Big Point B with grace and style is a never-ending quest! There are so many ways to do that. What I look for are the ways that feel seamless instead of forced, and necessary rather than filler. Sounds like you do the same!


          • Humor always helped me power through slower parts. Have you tried adding a couple of jokes or hilarious instances?



            • Well, this isn’t exactly the place for that in this story, but I’ve done that in the past. At any rate, I’ve moved past it and I’m quite pleased with the direction it’s taken. Thank you for the suggestion!


  2. The middle will always be my greatest challenge, that’s why I have to plan ahead. It has been the downfall of all of my previous attempts because I petered out trying to work in the middle. This time I have outlined and have really worked hard on knowing my character, so at those weak points I should be able to flesh it out.



    • I recently finished a book that had been stalled for four years in the middle. I guess it just needed to be set aside for that long and given a fresh outlook. It’s still my philosophy that there shouldn’t be any weak points. That holds especially true when writing for a young adult audience, whose attention span is a little less forgiving than that of older readers. There can’t be a lot of introspective down-time.

      Sometimes I know what has to happen, but I don’t like it and get stubborn, or find a million ways to procrastinate. I’m not a big fan of taking the phrase murder your darlings literally, but if that’s the course the plot takes, then so be it. I do get protective of my characters because I generally like them and don’t want terrible things to happen to them, but I have to remind myself that life is imperfect and living is a dangerous occupation. There are lots of ways to work around the parts that don’t want to be written. Mostly, I just have to keep on trying.


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