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How to Write Through the Muddle?

Last updated on January 15, 2021

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If ever heard of a writer talking about the Muddle, they’re talking about the getting through the middle of their novel. For too many writers, getting through the beginning of the novel is often the best part. Most times they have an idea on how to end the novel, but they don’t have a clue on what to do for the middle. They often will tell you how much information there is on how to begin a novel or some other aspect of the art, but they’ll tell you there really isn’t very much on middles. They’re right. Unfortunately, this is the case, but in reality there is very clear structure for the middle.

If you read the best stories out there you’ll find that the middle is a turning point. Now, before you go off thinking – here comes another “formula” – remember that you can do whatever you want to do. However, these “formulas” work. At some point I’ll write why, but for now just understand that for some reason the reader enjoys and perhaps even expects to see a particular structure.

Getting back to the middle, the structure is rather simple. Stories can be divided, for the most part, as the hero or protagonist going through the first half, by either WINNING or LOSING. The problem is that they win or lose based on wrong strategies. Remember that a good story requires the hero to LEARN something. By the time they reach the middle of the story, they haven’t fully learned their lesson. They win, or lose, based on what they know.

When the middle comes around, the action culminates with either:

  • a FALSE VICTORY or
  • a FALSE DEFEAT.

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