October 20 – 23, 2022

Pasadena, CA

Get Your Story Moving Past Middle-of-the-Book Sag

Is there anything more thrilling for the creative soul than starting a shiny new story? That sexy little minx seduces you effortlessly, promising you a dazzling future, and in the heady flush of new love it feels as if this perfect communion between you will never end.

And then comes the middle of the book.

But when things get tough, that doesn’t mean the story isn’t worth fighting for. Figuring out the problem and propping up the sag can often add even more depth and dimension.

When a manuscript loses its momentum, generally the issue is one of several culprits:

· The plot has lost its cohesion

· The characters aren’t progressing on their arcs

· The story stakes have deflated

· Tension and suspense have lagged

This session will show authors how to spot what may be derailing their story, and specific, actionable ways to get things back on track.

Authors will learn:

· How to create an X-ray of their story to examine its “bones” to see whether the plot holds together and consistently propels readers along the story arc.

· Specific questions to ask to determine which scenes might be treading water and why—and whether and how they can be fixed or cut altogether to get the story where it’s going.

· How to take a microscope to your protag(s)’ arcs to ensure character motivations and goals are strong and clear and that they are driving the action toward achieving them; whether you may be “puppetmastering” and the characters are rebelling.

· How to determine whether the consequences for failure (or the reward for success) remain strong and clear throughout, both on a big-picture story level and within each scene, and how to address the issue if not with various techniques: new challenges or dangers; more reward; more urgency; heightened meaning.

· How to discover whether suspense and tension elements are lacking or have been resolved too soon, and how to organically weave in more uncertainty and questions in the reader’s mind, and more conflict and obstacles, to help propel the story.