by Kathy Cannon Wiechman
As writers, we strive to write a story’s beginning to hook the reader. And everyone knows the end must be perfect, too. But what comes between the two is equally important.
The middle is the longest part of a novel, a bridge that leads from start to finish. Not your typical bridge; it has to have rises and falls, and tension that increases as the reader continues. We don’t want it to be a difficult crossing for him, but it doesn’t hurt to leave him breathless.
And it has to be structurally sound enough to bear the weight of plot, characters, setting, and conflict. (Multiple characters. Sometimes various settings. And any number of subplots.) If it is not well constructed and seamless, the reader might not make it to the end.
He needs to enjoy the view as he proceeds, but can’t be too distracted by that view and forget about the journey. He must always want to keep going, knowing that a reward (a satisfactory ending) awaits.
Writing instructors will expound at length about the beginning and the end, but if the middle doesn’t perfectly connect the two, the reader will be lost.