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Parabolic Block

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by ShortHair, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. ShortHair

    ShortHair Sage

    Possibly too similar to other recent threads, but here goes anyway.

    I'm having trouble with the middle part of my book. The early going is easy, the ending is easy. It's like writing about a cannonball. The launching part is interesting, the landing part is interesting, but there's a point at the top of the parabola where not much is going on. I'm sure the scenery is interesting, but that doesn't help move the story along to the next interesting part.
  2. The Dark One

    The Dark One Inkling

    At the risk of sounding glib, I'd suggest there's either something missing or something you're not quite seeing and getting full value from.

    In my view, the resolution of the plot ought to be a consequence of numerous events and transactions...not just something that arises as a consequence of the opening. If it is (a consequence of the opening), your readers will easily guess the conclusion and will probably be bored by the lack of action and plot kickers (as I call them) along the way. Try to end every chapter with some sort of question and the block will soon disappear.
  3. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    It's common to have the second act sags. Here's a way to think about the middle of the story that I found helped me. It's late so I'm going to make them brief. If you want some more detail just ask and I'll be glad to ramble on... err... I mean elaborate.

    The second act composes generally 50% of the story. It's divided into two parts. The first part is what can be called the promise of the premise. The premise of the story is just what's generally promised by the type of story you're telling. For Star Wars the premise was good guys fight the empire, so that's what they do. They evade Stormtroopers, star destroyers, and fight Tie Fighters. In a road movie, it's where the characters hit the road, visit interesting places and meet interesting people.

    In the middle of act 2 is the mid-point climax. Something big happens here. Either the hero suffers major set back or achieves a rousing victory of some sort. Both are temporary. In Star Wars this was when Alderan is destroyed and the Millennium Falcon gets tractor beamed into the Deathstar.

    The second part of act 2 is where the hero regroups if they suffered a setback, and puts their nose to the grindstone get back on track in order to achieve the story's ultimate goal. (In Star Wars they lay out a plan to rescue the Princess, turn off the tractor beam power, and escape.) If the heroes achieve a victory, this is where the bad guys regroup, take off the kid gloves and hit back hard.

    Hope this helps.
  4. Ivan

    Ivan Minstrel

    This is where subplots come in. Something that sparks curiosity, adventure, fear, even humor.
  5. Devora

    Devora Sage

    I had this same problem with the novel i'm trying to write. I wrote the first few chapters, and then i hit a block where i didn't know wat to do. Eventually, i asking myself question pertaining to the story, and ended up reworking the novel into a different story than i had originally planned (and i ended up liking the revision better).

    Wat you should do is try to think of details that would fit in the middle, then ask yourself questions about the details.
  6. shangrila

    shangrila Inkling

    Another problem might be that you have the ending. You might be trying too hard to funnel the beginning towards the end you've got in your head, which can stifle the natural growth of your story (I'm assuming this is a first draft).

    My suggestion? Put aside your ending for a while. I'm not saying get rid of it, but try writing it down somewhere and "purging" it from your mind, then see where your story goes without a clearly defined end. You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised and, at worst, you can always pick your original ending up if you don't like the new direction.

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