Story Plot Structure - How to Fill Your Story Middle

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Maybe you have an idea for a story about a princess who falls in love with a palace guard.

You might already know how you want the story to end (wedding bells).

But what will happen in the middle?

Or maybe you have an idea for a detective story. You'll begin with a dead body that turns up on the banks of the Seine.

At the end, the detective will discover whodunit (the victim's spurned lover).

But what will happen in between?

The middle part of a story plot is where a lot of writers have trouble.

They have an idea and sit down to write, full of energy and excitement. They get the beginning down. So far so good!

And then they draw a blank.

Maybe they know where they want the story to go. But it's too soon to head there yet. If they write the ending now, they'll have a two-page novel -- that's no good!

How to fill all of the blank pages between the beginning and the ending?

Here's how you can flesh out your story's middle.

1) Think about what ending your main character wants for the story (e.g., wedding bells or a killer brought to justice). Let your character fumble his/her way in that direction...

2) Then throw up some roadblocks.

The princess's father fires the handsome guard and promises her hand in marriage to a prince.

Hm, how could we make her life even more difficult?

Maybe the handsome guard gets thrown into the dungeon. Maybe the prince tells her sweet lies, and she starts to soften toward the idea of marrying him. Maybe he tells her that the handsome guard is dead.

Or in the detective story, false clues keep leading the detective in the wrong directions. And the victim's family members are receiving threats and refuse to talk.

Want to make his life even more difficult? He could get fired from his job. Now he has no legal authority to continue with the investigation (though he's driven still by his burning curiosity and a fervent desire for justice).

When you have pages to fill, just remind yourself where your character wants to go and ask yourself, "How can I make his/her life more difficult?"

In this way, you can gradually draw a (twisty, labyrinthine) path for your story.

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