Friday, 9 May 2014

In the middle of something

I often hear aspiring writers say ‘I know the beginning to my short story and I know the end - it’s the middle bit I struggle with‘.
The middle is there to keep the story going, rather than filling the bit between the beginning and the end; think of it that way and you will not go far wrong. The middle allows you to develop the plot, create tension, allow the development of layers of the story, let the characters grow. It’s not padding, it has work to do.
Middles should be as long or as short as needed, not overwritten or underwritten; unless you are given a set target, let the story dictate the length. We set a top limit of 2000 words for the Global Short Story Competition but many writers go for much less because that is all that the story requires.
Resist the temptation to pack too much intro your middle - concentrate on one story, perhaps just one or two main characters. Introduce too much, too many characters, sub-plots, and you may end up doing it all badly.
It may help to write in episodes (like short chapters) to keep the pace going and allow the story to build to the ending.
Loads of 
time to enter this month’s competition at

John Dean

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