I just finished the third draft of my first novel in a new space opera romance series and sent it off to my publisher. By the end of the week, I'll be working on the next one. One of the things I work on in the second and third draft is to make sure all my scenes have a reason to exist. If you've studied the craft of novel writing, you're heard the term, saggy middle.
The middle of the novel should build the tension, develop the plot and if it's a romance novel, develop that too. Many writers know how to make the beginning of their novel exciting and the end is always fun and fast-moving. But you have to keep the reader turning pages through the middle so they get to that finely crafted ending.
Here's a few things I check to make sure things stay interesting in the middle. Don't have too many scenes in the same location. Writing space opera romance, it would be easy to have my characters having scenes on the bridge or making love in the captain's cabin for all the romance scenes. But I have to mix it up. They need to make stops on different worlds or space stations.
Your story probably has a big conflict that you're building up to from the beginning of the story. Add some complications. Make it tougher for your protagonists to solve their problem. Add another complication to the romantic relationship.
If you have trouble with a sagging middle problem, the best solution may be to cure it before it starts. Plot it out. Plot those scenes that will keep your story moving along. And then edit, edit, edit when you get to the second, third and fourth drafts.
This coming Friday is Leif Eriksson Day so how about and Irish proverb. A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book.
Don't forget your short story ready for the IWSG anthology. Read the details here.
How do you deal with a sagging middle in your novel? Do you have your short story ready for the anthology? Have you ever caught yourself writing too many scenes in the same setting?