Timeless by Crystal Collier

 

Welcome Crystal Collier here today to share her new book and some editing tips!

 
In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?
 

BUY: Amazon | B&N

GUEST POST

Thank you T.F. Walsh for having me here today!

So you've written this story with an epic beginning, a killer end, but the middle–ugh! No matter what you do, you can't seem to fix the saggy, boring, drawn-out middle.
 

Here are a few quick tips to whip that middle into a gem.

First we have to diagnose the issue. Often middles suffer from one of these:
 

1. Passive character action
2. Lack of focus on plot
3. Where did the tension go?

Correcting character passivity: 

Characters need to change and grow in a novel. It's a known truth. Otherwise we end up with "cardboard" characters, and who wants to hang out with them? I mean, they can't even talk back to you!

The protagonist needs to be changing and challenged by everything that comes their way. No one wants to read about someone smoothly sailing over their challenges.

A big issue I run across is a character who is merely reacting to everything that's happening rather than actively seeking after their goals. It's fine for a character to react to their world, but when you hit the 50% point of a book, that HAS to change. This is the point at which the character has been pushed and shoved and won't take it no more! From this moment on they must actively go after what they need–whether that be a relationship, independence, power, wealth, revenge, justice, or peace. (And if your character doesn't BREAK, maybe that's the issue?)

Focusing the Plot:

But your character does change and grow and pursues their goals. What is wrong?

Have you looked at the plot? A dynamic plot has a strong beginning, a dramatic turn around at the middle, and a powerful end, but that's not all. The middle of that plot should be contain no less than 3 (and preferably more like 6) plot points that DRIVE us toward a need for resolution. Try creating a plot chart where you actually measure where your action falls. I'm serious here–an actual graph. Estimate the tension for each plot point along the way on a scale from one to ten. (This means you have to clearly identify the turning points in the manuscript–any time something happens that motivates major change.)

Every time you hit a plot point, you're going to go from a negative to a positive motivation, or the reverse. Technically, every chapter should be balance by a negative to positive (or the reverse). This is one way to get to the next issue…

Where did the tension go? 
 

Image from Getty Images

There was a point at which I started chanting "tension all the time" while writing. There must be a juicy carrot–a mystery or desire hanging in front of the readers face to keep them moving forward. What question do you want readers asking in each chapter? What feeling do you want them to experience at the end of each chapter? Don't leave it to chance. Actually ask yourself these question and answer them–then implement the answer if it doesn't already exist. Keep a mystery/need in front of the characters, and only let your readers relax about once every 60 pages. Keep them worried. Keep them hopeful. Keep them wondering.

In the end, middles only sag if we don't build the proper structure beneath them. Go forth and support! You've got this.
 

What advice do you give for sagging middles? Have you been able to fix a book from the middle?

 

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.


 

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)




8 thoughts on “Timeless by Crystal Collier

  1. Great tips, Crystal! I sometimes make flash cards for scenes and rate the plot movement and tension in each, and lay them out on the floor and then shift around as needed, and/or make notes on what scenes need to be spiced up. It's really useful to me to have that visual. But I also do a chart for plot/subplot matrix. Good stuff!

    Hi, Tania!

    • I love it! That's a great way to free the mind and mix things up. It wouldn't work for me,  but it would probably work for many people. I'm reminded of Blake Snyder's board and sticky note method.

  2. Excellent tips. Middles do fizzle out without that growing and constant tension. I like to torment my characters by making things worse and worse. They must be at the darkest point before they can rise to win at the end.

Leave a Reply to Crystal Collier Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FacebookTwitterPinterestGoodreadsAmazon Author CentralInstagram