Help! I’m Stuck in the Middle and I Can’t Get Out
By Kimberly Shursen, Author of Itsy Bitsy Spider, Hush, and Lottery
Ever get to the middle of writing your book and didn’t have a clue what to do next? You’ve set up the story; you’ve described the characters, the scenery, the wallpaper in the kitchen, and now what? You’re excited to write that unbelievable ending you already have conjured in your head, but how in the world are you going to get there?
Answer: resolve the issue before you start staring at those intimidating blank pages on the screen.
- Have a secondary plot. By this I don’t mean a separate plot, but one that weaves nicely into your story. Using my novel HUSH as an example, there is Ann and Ben’s life, and then there’s Ann’s lawyer Mac McConaughey’s story. The plot remains focused on the main characters, however, Mac and his wife Jazz’s life is a secondary heart-warming storyline readers can identify with.
- When you’re stuck, think of the most pivotal moments of your life; the birth of a child, a challenging life hurdle you’ve finally succeeded in overcoming, or the feeling of finally letting go and falling in love. Bring these pivotal moments to life in your characters. Set the platform in the first few chapters of your book and you will have a beginning, a middle, and an end that, although cliché, will wrap up into one sweet little package. Never write a chapter that doesn’t have substance or doesn’t move the story forward. Each single word, sentence, and chapter needs to have meaning; so no cheating filling in with drawn out dissertations of the scenery.
- I never place my novels in one city as it’s just too much fun to travel via the net. It is important that my characters and the places they live or travel not become redundant. In HUSH, there are three cities I visited in cyberspace. How do I do this? Just as a couple of examples, I use images, descriptions of buildings and restaurants, and neighborhood overviews found in personal travel documentations, along with studying the official websites of the city. I do a ton of research so that if anyone who lives in these cities or neighborhoods happens to read my book, they would think I’d been there not just once, but several times. The bulk of HUSH was set in Minneapolis, and even though I lived in Minneapolis for many years, I still had to check out the facts. How many miles around is Lake Minnetonka where Mac’s wife Jazz lived? How far was it from Dinky Town where Ann lived to the courthouse? Where are the prestigious neighborhoods in Minneapolis? Which suburbs are the poorest? Mileage from one place to the next takes me to Mapquest.
When I took HUSH to Lake Geneva, Switzerland was when I really had to dig deep into the bowels of the net, close my eyes and envision not only the Jet d'Eau that surges 459 feet above the lake, but the Swiss Alps, and the peaceful inlet of water that borders this quaint, wealthy city.
Don’t be afraid to reach the middle; embrace it. If you’ve done your homework, and set up your storylines, there will be nothing to fear when you proudly present your baby to the public.
Soon after Ann Ferguson and Ben Grable marry, and Ben unseals his adoption papers, their perfect life together is torn apart, sending the couple to opposite sides of the courtroom.
Representing Ann, lawyer Michael J. McConaughey (Mac) feels this is the case that could have far-reaching, judicial effects -- the one he's been waiting for.
Opposing counsel knows this high profile case happens just once in a lifetime.
And when the silent protest known as HUSH sweeps the nation, making international news, the CEO of one of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world plots to derail the trial that could cost his company billions.
Critically acclaimed literary thriller HUSH not only questions one of the most controversial laws that has divided the nation for over four decades, but captures a story of the far-reaching ties of family that surpasses time and distance.
*** Hush does not have political or religious content. The story is built around the emotions and thoughts of two people who differ in their beliefs.
EDITORIAL REVIEW: "Suspenseful and well-researched, this action-packed legal thriller will take readers on a journey through the trials and tribulations of one of the most controversial subjects in society today." - Katie French author of "The Breeders," "The Believer's," and "Eyes Ever To The Sky."
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Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
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