Sagging Middle Syndrome

Question: I just read your article about sagging middle syndrome and identified the cause of my own. I don't think that my novel's tension is increasing and my characters' obstacles are more or less remaining the same, not getting worse. How can I fix this?


Answer: At the risk of being obvious, introduce new complications. Add events that show the approaching consequence (forewarnings). If you are using a timelock, show the clock running down. If you are using an option lock, let the reader see that the number of options is narrowing. Make the stakes get higher, the threats/risks get bigger.

Perhaps brainstorm a bit using the question "What could go wrong?" Make your hero's problems intensify until they reach the pinnacle at the crisis.

Of course, some of this depends on genre. But even in a decision story, the psychological problem should intensify.

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