One needs only watch TV or surf the net to realize that the troublesome midsection is actually a thing. However, the one I’m talking about isn’t about a few extra pounds. I posit that too many books have a troublesome midsection.
The first few pages invite you into the story, pulling you in through a plot that seems entertaining or the characters seem interesting. But then it happens. Page after page and you’re wondering if something is going to happen. Then you wonder if you missed something. Wait, what happened to the clear narrative from the beginning? Wait, what’s going on here? WHERE DID THE STORYLINE GO?!
Now, if you’re like me, you trudge through it, grumbling to yourself about how pointless this all is. You wonder why you picked the book up in the first place and amidst the frustration you swear off the book, the author, and maybe even the publisher (because of course they all are to blame for this agony of a confusing, muddled middle section that you’re now suffering through).
But then, out of nowhere, comes a light. Look!!! It’s a detail! Oh man, is that a visual cue? GASP! That’s a plot twist!!
Then you try to forget all of the suffering and just enjoy the ending but….man that middle section was at least 100 pages too long. You think to yourself, if only this book didn’t have that crappy middle, it’d be a pretty decent book!
It hits you. This isn’t a decent book because it struggles from a troublesome midsection.
I’ve read way too many of these books lately and I know I can’t be the only one. I oftentimes stare at my blank computer screen when trying to write a review because there are only so many ways I can say that the middle sucked but everything else was rocking. I get a nagging feeling when I try to recommend them because I know that doing so merely enables more people to suffer through the boring bits like I did. Man, does it leave me feeling dissatisfied and annoyed. I want to just shake it off and read a good book but guess what is likely to happen? Yup, you guessed it. Cycle Repeat.
So is this just a testament to the state of writing these days or are we engineered to have several simultaneous plot points as is used in TV and film?
More importantly, how do I get out of these midsection blues?