I was zipping through my blglines today and came across this post by Jennifer Bianco about plotting out the middle. I often refer to this as the Dreaded Valley of the Shadow of the Middle. This is the hardest part for me. I usually have a solid first act and a pretty solid third act. But the middle…it’s often this vast stretch of blank pages where I’m struggling to figure out how to get from A to C so to speak. I’m hoping that the techniques discussed in GMC are going to help me out with that, but until I have a free day to reread it and really work on with it, I’m not any further along on that particular battle. I sat down and wrote out a bulleted summary of everything that happens between the end of Act 1 and the end of the book. No shock, there’s that stretch of the middle where I have brilliant notations like “There’s relationship stuff that develops.” Anyway, Bianco makes that statement that “In EMOTIONAL STRUCTURE by Peter Dunne, it is discussed that the middle needs to be treated like it’s own separate story, with a beginning, middle and an end. It is not meant to simply be filler between the first and third acts.”
I’m kind of intrigued by this idea of the middle having it’s own beginning, middle, and end. Sort of the story within the story. If you look at the three act structure, then the end of Act 1 is usually the gateway to the story world. In HiS this is the point after Conall rescues Marley and circumstances essentially trap her into staying with him. So that’s sort of the beginning of a new story, with it’s own story arc. So my task, then, is to figure out what that arc is between Marley’s rescue and the flip at the end of Act 2 when she’s passed the point of no return. And I guess, technically, by the same token, Act 3 has it’s own arc too, from that point of no return to the end. I’ve got a lot more points for that one. I suppose if you go deep enough, taking this three act structure sort of thing and applying it to each act and within each sub act and so on and so forth, eventually you’re bound to have all your scenes mapped out. Worth a shot anyway.