Which ideas spoke to you the most? What thoughts or ideas do you have of your own? How are you finding your way through the messy middle of your book?
There were so many really useful ideas this week. The two that helped me most were your discussions about the midpoint and "breaking" the novel, and then Desmond Hall's "reveal the protagonist's flaw to the protagonist" (!). So great. What are we going to do when this is over? I'm going to miss it!
I loved Sabina Murray's observations about time. How we really don't live in Newtonian time or experience as such - but organize time ourselves in our mind - and how, as writers, we can move in and out of the present as a way to manipulate time into a cohesive story. She also said that 'memory is an imposition on the present' - which I loved....
After seeing notes about one of the recent sessions, I went back and read Anna Keesey's essay on "Making a Scene" and found her discussion of "unfolding" and "infolding" material very interesting and helpful. Examples of unfolding (Hemingway, Shakespeare) and infolding (Woolf, Munro) were spot on. Thank you for referencing it.
I am forgetting who said it but the line, 'writers are professional noticers' really resonated with me. Yes, that's what we need to do and if we get stuck in the middle, we need to go back and 'notice' the people, setting, time we've already written. Very helpful.
Pain in the middle: "breaking," "getting rid a character," creating obstacles, "blow the door open," pull the novel apart. I guess pain is better than mess.
I’ve been stuck in the dreaded middle and your suggestions - particularly to get rid of a character - came at the right time. It underscores the idea of ‘keep putting obstacles in the way.’ That, too, has been hugely helpful.
Today's session with Tara and Julie was extremely helpful. My novel, too, is historical fiction. I was able to go back in and provide an important plot point toward the end that did not appear in earliest drafts. Thanks so much.
I started to have a bit of an epiphany when the discussion of character arcs (Patricia Park/Jennifer DeLeon) that opened further with time and how to use/manipulate it (Sabina Murray/Steve Yarborough) and then Tension Tricks (Erika Ferencik/Desmond Hall) blew the door open and now I'm starting to pull my stuck novel apart and totally rearrange it and I think it's actually going to be fun!
The session on Story Arcs propelled my revisioning process forward. Learning that not just characters, but places and things, can have arcs and they all entwine. It helped me recognize another three important arcs in my story that round out and enrich the revision I am working on. Thanks for making this series available.