Breaking Through

I’ve written enough now that I notice the patterns in my writing process. One of these patterns is the mid-book slump.

Generally, the beginning of a book is pretty simple. I have a general idea of the conflict, and it’s fun to either rejoin the characters after some time away or get to know new characters. I establish the conflict, start exploring the characters, and see where the story goes.

But there’s always a point, usually somewhere from a third into the book to halfway through, where the momentum dies. The characters and conflict are established, but I usually hit a point where I don’t know where anything is going.

It’s not writer’s block, exactly. I’m not sure I believe in that anymore.

But it is an obstacle. Something that needs to be overcome.

The method differs in each book. Sometimes the answer comes in the shower. Sometimes it comes on a long weekend walk. Other times, it’s the product of simply sitting down and writing the next sentence, over and over, until I’m on the other side.

But when that breakthrough happens, it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. The story comes alive, like a patient on the brink of death suddenly jumping up and running a marathon. In those moments, it feels like the story is in control, rushing to the place it wants to be.

And as always, I enjoy the ride.

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