Thursday, September 27

The Sagging Swamp

 by Margie Senechal

You're getting a rare treat today, the Thursday blog.

I was supposed to blog yesterday. I knew all last week that it was coming up. I was reminded on Sunday by Kristi that it was coming up. I remembered Monday and Tuesday. And then, I forgot on Wednesday until late afternoon when I was baking chocolate chip cookies (because I saw The Clock in the Wall on Tuesday and was compelled to bake).

So, here we go.

I want to talk muddy middles and no, we're not talking my waistline or lack thereof--that's what I have doctors for.

through. I think different writers go through it differently, some even seem to steamroll through it. Lucky ducks!In writing, there's a phenomenon called the muddy or saggy middle that a lot of writers go

For me, it's the point where the high-speed freeway of writing becomes a p(l)ot-hole filled dirt road that I'm traversing on a rickety bike.I used to believe I didn't fall victim to the muddy middle, but a recent tour of my desk-top revealed otherwise. I have a slew of WIP's that have stalled between 10-22K--usually about a third of the way into the manuscript.I started to analyze why this happens and came up with a few things that go on in my head about then.--Enter the doubting dust bunnies in my head. I start to wonder if the project is worth pursuing. Is anyone except me going to want to read this? --I change my mind about a major character's plotline and decide I can't go on without going back and making the changes. Then I think, "Is it really worth it?"--A new sparkly object appears with promises of easy writing and less struggles. "Look at me, look at me. I'll be good. Oh, so good..."--I decide that it's time to tinker in the far-too long neglected yard, house, garage...In the two projects I've committed to this year. I have found myself struggling against that muddy middle monster and the doubting dust-bunnies.I am on my 9th rewrite of Bix. Nine! That's insane. Especially considering that each rewrite has been a significant over-haul. This one more so than the others as this one started on page one and only the names have remained the same. Bix is more edgy, bitter, and sarcastic and the story is more about finding his place in his family and community.Then there's Suitcases. I love Ana, Danny, and their journey. But, sometimes I wonder if anyone else will-except the people (Lily-Chris) who have read it and demanded that I finish it. Yeah, I think this is the one that the doubting dust-bunnies have had the most fun messing with my head on.So, in closing, does anyone have any suggestions on how to bat these evil guys down? How to persevere through it all? Tips taken and appreciated.Have a great weekend!


  1. I'm having trouble getting past the beginning! However, I definitely sympathize with the sagging middle. I can't concentrate on two projects at once--could that be some of the problem? I love Suitcases, too!

  2. Hey, I liked Suitcases, too! Like I told you, I think it's a story worth finishing. That being said, I sympathize with your saggy middle problem, because I've definitely been there. Usually if I find my middle sagging (the story kind, not my waistline) I know it's time for something big to happen, like a murder, a truth revealed, or some other significant event. You can do it, Margie!

    1. Something big? Hmmmm gotta think on that one. Thanks for the advice!

  3. I don't have any great advice, Margie, just to keep pushing through...find those beats to your story when something big (or bigger, like Jana said) need to happen...and see where that takes you.

  4. Generally I write on a few projects and then one takes off. That’s what happened with Bix, and is pretty much is happening again. Thanks for Suitcase love :)