Plot Planning and Avoiding Saggy Middle Syndrome

by Jesmeen Deo, Age 15

 

Let’s say, you’re writing a long story. You have the beginning and the end in mind, and the climax. You start typing excitedly… and then your fingers pause.

How do I to fill the middle?

This is known “Saggy Middle Syndrome.” Sometimes a writer will have major events and action fleshed out, but not the breaks from action. It’s good to put these scenes in because it gives the reader a breather to digest important information.

The key to writing a successful middle is to have these where the characters got to a party or get a new job, scenes that are not involved with the main plot but still have some sort of connection to it.

Here is an example. Say you’re writing a mystery. Detective Bob spends most of his time trying to figure out who killed Joe. When he has downtime, he spends time with his newly-discovered father, giving the readers insight into Bob’s character. His father even gives Bob some advice that gets him thinking in a new way about the mystery. Therefore, these non-action scenes are not only downtime, but also relevant to the overall story.

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