How do I not tire of my story?

by Kelly
(Ohio)

Question: I'm thirteen years old and have been writing since I was eight. Since then, I've completed multiple short stories and one novella, none of which were over 25,000 words.


I am now attempting to write a full-length dystopian novel. I know that dystopian and fantasy are my two strong genres, but I have a dilemma. Whenever I'll get a good concept, I'll plan it out for a day or two and begin writing it. However, around the 15,000-25,000 word mark, I start to tire of the world and characters I've created.The farthest I've ever gotten in a novel is 33,000 words.

How do I avoid this? I've tried skipping around in the story sequence, but that doesn't seem to work. Any suggestions would be extremely helpful.

Answer: First off: kudos for all the work you have done to date! Not many people as young as you have the discipline to have worked so diligently to develop your craft.

Second, you should know that the middle of a story is the hardest part for most writers. (I call it the "sagging middle syndrome.")

The bad news is that if you find yourself getting bored with your story, most likely the reader will too.

The good news is that if you fix your middle to make it exciting for you, it will probably be exciting for the reader as well.

Usually, the problem is structure. You can think of every story as having a basic four-part structure:

setup --> complication --> crisis --> resolution

Every one of those parts is important. When they are all working well, the reader cannot put the story down. However...

A weak setup will make the reader abandon the story very quickly because it won't get him/her interested in the story enough to continue.

A weak crisis will make the whole story feel emotionally flat.

A weak resolution will be unsatisfying, with too many loose ends.

And a weak complication will make the reader lose track of what the story is about. It will make the crisis seem to come out of nowhere.

Remember that the middle of the story (the complication and the build towards the crisis) should be about increasing the tension. Problems build. Situations become more complicated and desperate. Surprising obstacles appear. Etc. And all of these things gradually force the story to a crisis.

If your middle seems flat, make sure you know what the big crisis of the story will be. That's your destination on the horizon. With that in mind, make your characters work towards it. Put plenty of obstacles and surprises in their path. Make the stakes get bigger (never lesser).

When you become excited, you will be on the right track.

P.S. You might check out some of the articles on story structure on my site, starting with...

Sagging Middles http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/sagging-middle.html

The W-Plot http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/w-plot.html

Plot Outlines http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/plot-outline.html

Best of luck.

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