Quicksand - how to get out of it (A-Z blog)
Apr 19, 2015 by Michelle Denise Sodaro
(this was originally going to be Quirks, but yesterday's blog had me changing my mind.) So it has happened with every novel I have gotten past chapter 10...you are writing along and all of a sudden you notice your words and thoughts appear to be moving more and more slowly until you are literally. forcing. one. word. after. another. across. the. page. It is agony to keep going but you are afraid if you stop completely, you won't ever get started again. I hate to say it, friend, but your novel is in quicksand (or the Doldrums if you are in Norman Jester's Phantom Tollbooth). Now, usually my novels find the quicksand anywhere from Chapter 12 to about Chapter 20. It's the dreaded middle of the novel (SCREAM!!!!). Somewhere in that 8 chapter range, my motivation and my writing become almost painful. It's after thestory introduction, we have met the characters and before too much of the rising action...and nowhere near the climax...it's the building of the characters, the day-to-day lives of the characters that make the readers care about them. Here you need to develop the story, but not give too much away. You need to add to the action, but not reach the climax too soon...you need to build, build, buildand then back up a bitand let the characters (and your readers) catch their breath. So how do you get out of the quicksand?? You keep pushing through. You keep forcing one more word on to the page. You do freewriting. You stick to your outline. You keep pushing you through until the writing flows again. Your novels will thank you.