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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Author Insight: Beginning, Middle, End

What's more challenging -- the beginning, the middle or the end?

"Always the middle. Mostly because it shifts so much. My middles were almost always, at some point, either the beginning or the ending of a different draft." - K. Ryer Breese, author of Future Imperfect

"The middle. The beginning is full of anticipation and excitement for the new story and characters. The end is all about climax, excitement, and resolutions. The middle is a delicate balance of plot building, character understanding, and a journey arc that needs to hit all the right spots. It’s not as exciting to write, but it’s what makes or breaks a book. I’ve read so many books that have lost me slap bang in the middle. There’s a crucial moment, if you miss it, the reader will abandon the book and miss out on the ending, if you nail it, the rest of your book will be devoured and enjoyed and leave the reader gasping for more." - Leigh Fallon, author of The Carrier of the Mark. 

"Oh, the middle. I want to punch the middle in the face. Because I tend to wander, and/or add too much I can’t tie up at the end." - Elana Johnson, author of Possession. 

"Depends on the project. With what I'm working on now, it's all been a challenge! I generally spend a ton of time revising the beginning to get it exactly right because it needs to hook the reader. However, I always seem to get stuck about 3/4ths of the way through a book because then I have to figure out how to tie up those threads. I'm not a plotter so it always gets hard there." - Stephanie Kuehnert, author of Ballads of Suburbia. 

"I generally begin with the plot in place, so all of it is equally difficult. I do like to have a first sentence that hooks the reader. I think it’s important to have a last sentence that is like the dessert course of a meal – it gives the reader a feeling of satisfaction and completion." - Marta Acosta, author of  Haunted Honeymoon.

"The middle! Definitely, the middle! This is mostly because I don’t plot very much until I hit that wall in the middle. The first scene jumps into my head and then I write the book to find out what the story is..." - Alyxandra Harvey, author of Haunting Violet.

"The beginning. I want to do so much and feel nitpicky about getting it started *right* when really, that just slows me down. It's better for me to push through the beginning and not look back, going back later to re-write (and often cut) the entire thing after I've typed "The End." I like to go back and have the beginning mirror the ending...which can't happen until the ending is written! Aye, that's the rub." - Dawn Metcalf, author of Luminous

"The outline.  I think it’s the hardest thing to get right." - Josephine Angelini, author of Starcrossed
"I think the end is the most challenging because I believe that everything hangs on a good ending. I always hope to achieve an ending that is exciting, holds a few delicious surprises, but at the same time feels inevitable in terms of the characters’ choices, and therefore satisfying." - Alison Goodman, author of Eona

"The end. I know I’m about to say goodbye, so I tend to drag it out. Then I have to cut and it makes me a sad panda." - Trinity Faegen, author of The Mephisto Covenant

"I have a really weird way of thinking and mapping out my plots but I always get caught up in those first few pages because I want them to be perfect on the first try, which, of course, they almost never are perfect. After I get the beginning down it is really all I can do to stop the rest from just tumbling out (hopefully without too many spelling errors but that is what editing is for). Though sometimes I stall when I come to the end; I never really want it to end so even if I know all the words to write every once in a while I can’t make myself write them." - Emma Michaels, author of The Thirteenth Chime.

 "The middle. Because you've gotten out of the honeymoon phase of the beginning, where everything is shiny and new. And you haven't gotten to the home stretch of the end where you're just excited to push toward the climax. It's just a lot of hard work." - Tera Lynn Childs, author of Sweet Venom

"For me, it's usually the middle... that's where you can get bogged down and lose sight of what's important and what's not." - Leah Cypess, author of Nightspell

Come back Thursday to find out how the rest of the authors gauge personal success.


  1. I love hearing what other writers think about these ideas. Thanks for sharing this.

    I just found your blog and I'm excited to now be a follower. Looking forward to seeing more.

    -Miss GOP