Dissonance, Malcolm Stone, Writing Process

Stuck in the Middle with You

Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.

Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
And I’m wondering what it is I should do,
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
Well you started out with nothing,
And you’re proud that you’re a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please…. Please…..

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all,
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor,
‘Cause I don’t think that I can take anymore
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
Well you started out with nothing,
And you’re proud that you’re a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please…. Please…..

Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you,
Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
Stuck in the middle with you.

– song written by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan

When I think about writing the middle of a book, I always think of the song Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel.  It’s so true!  You started out with nothing, then you put some words down and hammered out the beginning.  Then you get to the middle and you get to the point you have no clue where you are going and you feel like giving up…. see the song was totally about writing, not what Wikipedia claims – “The song was inspired by a real occasion when the record company and producers were conducting business across Rafferty and Egan at a restaurant table.”

Right now, I am in the middle and I’m stuck.  No surprises there, middles suck!

The middle shouldn’t be this hard, but it is.  The middle is the make or break point of the story.  The middle is where everything really happens, where the story builds.  [*sighs*]  Why is it so hard?

Talking about the middle seems so taboo.  The majority of writers seem to have issues with the middles of our books,  it’s where we falter; where we give up; where we gloss over detail, thus making the story flat and boring.

I am going to break that taboo.  I’m in the middle and yes, I hate it, but it’s not going to make me quit, think less of myself for being stuck, or gloss over important details of the story.  I’m going to persevere and tell you exactly what I’m going to do and what I did to get over the middle blues.

Once I realized I was stuck, I decided it was time to pull out that handy-dandy notebook and start outlining.  I had a vague idea of where the book was going to end.  I wrote every thing, no matter how absurd.  I came up with some interesting ideas and even events that could happen in the third book.  Then I started getting more focused and started outlining scenes, no dialogue yet, but the bare bones of the events.  I continued on doing this until, I found a logical place for the story to end that ties in perfectly with the already written (first draft) Reverie.

I was hoping that the outline would help get unstuck.  It helped a bit, but I was still fighting with some of the scenes.  I still found myself avoiding my book.  I had an outline of what needed to happened, but I still didn’t have the dialogue and actions of each character spelled out.  I was getting frustrated.

I stepped back once more, to see what I needed to do.  I decided to do what  I did with Reverie, I started writing the last chapter.  The ending had come to me so vividly while I was outlining one day at lunch.  I sat down and hammered out the 2,300 words that are the first draft of the last chapter.

That is the last I have written on my book.  I allowed myself some time off.  wpid-20140628_094651.jpgI needed to take care of some personal things… which still aren’t resolved, but that’s another issue all together (no worries nothing too serious!).  I spent the past week working on those issues.  I took Friday off and went to visit the parents, picked black raspberries (pie coming soon) and enjoyed my weekend.   I spent this morning sitting in my mother’s reading spot in the garden.  The birds were chirping and the breeze was blowing, it was perfect.  I had about a day of media blackout (I get very little cell service there) and I gave myself permission to forget about my other responsibilities.

Now with my batteries recharged, I am ready to take a whack at my book again.  I am giving myself permission to be stuck.  I am going to work on a scene until I get stuck, then I’m moving on to the next scene I feel like writing.  I’m going to puzzle piece this book together.

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10 thoughts on “Stuck in the Middle with You”

  1. I’ve got the chapters about two-thirds of the way through to write. Beginning and end are done, middle is just as stuck as you. But, like you said, it’s the guts of the story, and where everything builds up. I will write it, and write it well, if it’s the last thing I do!

    But maybe I’ll have a cuppa first… :p

    Like

  2. I’m in the middle now too… and yes, it’s an awful place to be. I’ve written some chapters but they’re so disjointed from my beginning. Nevertheless, I figure I’ll just rewrite and rewrite until those chapters fit in with what I have done. It’s times like this that I wish I was a plotter, but somehow I can’t wrap my mind around that way of thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are my plans too. Just keep putting chapters down and then I’ll decide what needs to stay and what needs to go later. Hopefully a miracle will happen and it wall just all start making sense and flow right 🙂

      Like

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