Keeping the Middle Moving––Part IV

What kinds of horrendous happenings can you throw in? Oftentimes, the middle gets bogged down because you’re slowly setting up for the climax, but the middle needs it’s own climax to keep it going. Disasters are great for keeping the middle moving. Weather, natural, or manmade disasters can spur on action and help develop depth of character. Click to Tweet #keepmiddlemoving #amwriting

In my first novel, since it’s set in Kansas, I just had to put in a tornado. I foreshadowed it by having the hero wake up that morning with a “feeling” that something bad, like a tornado, could happen.

Those scenes of my POV characters, and what they were all doing during that time of the tornado, moved my story along quite nicely. It also helped my heroine begin to see the hero she was going to end up with, in a new light.

So think epic. If you’ve got a story set in the mountains, you have avalanches, blizzards, and extreme cold to help your story move along. Trap the hero and heroine together in a cave during a blizzard. Or, have the heroine rescue the hero from an avalanche, just barely. Another possibility is having them underdressed when extreme cold hits the mountains. Fun, huh?

The point is––you want your characters to suffer––a lot! Putting them in all kinds of horrible situations will help them with their character arc of change.

If your story is set in the summertime, depending on where it’s located, you can insert that tornado, or a flood, or extreme heat. Is your story set in the desert? Where’s the next oasis or water hole? What if the town burned down?

I’m thinking of putting a flood in my second novel. When I was a young girl, I got stuck at church during a long period of heavy rain. Kansas is fairly flat. Sand Creek flooded, as well as its’ tributaries. One of those tributary creeks made it difficult to get home from church. My grandmother had been called by Mom to bring me home, because she was on the side of the creek where I was. She had to drive out of town and try to find another way back because Slate Creek had flooded on the road. And still it rained.

For contemporary stories, terrorist attacks do well for manmade disasters. Or, you could simply have a lone mass murderer. What seems the most likely scenario for your story?

Think epic when planning a disaster (natural or manmade) to keep your middle moving. Click to Tweet #amwriting #keepmiddlemoving

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