Our football team had our opponents on the run. At halftime, we were up 32-3.
Comfortable lead. So apparently the guys decided, during halftime, to take a little nap, maybe get in the sauna, watch a little television…I dunno.
Because they left their passion in the locker room when they took the field for the second half.
Now, I’ve never played college football, but I know it’s not easy. You have to show up just to not get hurt. But there’s something that happens when you’re so far ahead you think about putting in the third string. You let go of your zeal, start looking at your watch, thinking about the burger waiting for you after the game.
Or maybe you’re just tired. You gave it all in the first half, and frankly, you need a break.
I get it.
Because I start out a story on fire, writing furiously through the first four chapters. It gets a little harder as I forge my way through chapters 7-8-9…10.
And then it’s halftime. Or at least, half-way through the book.
And I’m tired.
And I still have half the book to write.
And I really want a burger.
By the way, your character might have this moment half-way through the book, too, where they feel exhausted, overwhelmed and ready to hang up their pads and go home.
This is when they look back and see WHY they’re on this journey in the first place. They’re reminded of not only their motivation, but their greatest dream. And that the fight is worth it.
You, and your hero have to press on, or their journey–and your book–will fall apart.
Sort of like our team did. We landed penalty after penalty, gave the ball over three times with sloppy playing and suddenly the score was 21 to 32.
Don’t let the fact you have the rest of the book to write cause you to write poorly, take plotting shortcuts and short-change the emotion of your characters.
Here’s a tip. Don’t look at the entire book, the entire journey. Just take it “play by play.” Give just the next scene your very best. Then, take a little breather, and write the next scene. Just keep going, steady on, until the end.
If you need to write it poorly the first time—that’s FINE. You can give yourself permission to write poorly…as long as you don’t settle there. Go back and rewrite it.
Thankfully, our team woke up in the 4th quarter and pulled the game back into our hands.
So can you. If you feel like your book is sagging, tighten it up by asking:
- What’s at stake in this scene?
- What happens if my character doesn’t achieve their goal?
- How can I create tension by putting my character in a sympathetic situation and making my reader care?
If you get tired half way through, and let your writing sag, your reader will close the book halfway through. And then no one gets to celebrate the final victory. Bummer!
Your story matters, and the fight is worth it!
Go! Write Something Brilliant!
P.S. My new book,The Story Equation launched this week! Need to know how to create an ORGANIC, properly motivated character, and build an organic, powerful, yet easy plot? Check out the “SEQ!”
P.P.S. This week in Novel.Academy, we’re talking about TRENDS in publishing! Learn what’s hot, what’s not, and how you can use it to build your novel career. Check out Novel.Academy, over 100 classes on how to get published, and stay published and make your story matter!