Oh, dear. I’ve reached the dreaded center of my novel, the deep well of the middle. While writing the first and second draft, I struggled with chapters ten through thirteen. They are filled with necessary information, but I had a horrid time keeping everything in the present, showing not telling. And now, in final revision, I’m still unhappy with these chapters.
The problem is, I don’t like the plan I made when I was writing out my revision scene cards, and I don’t like my outline. My novel bogs down in the middle. It’s as simple as that. I feel as though I’m pushing a boulder up a hill with a straight pin, and I’m not sure what to do next.
Part of me wants to plunge on ahead, following the scene cards in spite of my reservations. Another part of me wants to combine the chapters, skimming off a bit of each scene, melding what remains into something tight and clear. Yet another side of my whirling mind says go back, do all three chapters over, from scratch.
I won’t do over, but I may combine the scenes into two chapters instead of three. All that’s necessary is a better outline. After all, three chapters of crossing the universe in an escape boat the size of a school is more than my stalwart characters can endure. It’s certainly driving me nuts; I hate to think what it’s doing to them. I don’t even want to think what my beta readers would say about this.
Keeping the story moving, focusing on immediacy and intensity, will get my heroes to their destination with their lives and my sanity in tact.