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Five Tips to Help You Get Through the Dreaded Middle during NaNoWriMo and Beyond

Last updated on October 24, 2017

Please welcome guest blogger Jade Young to Wordy Speculations…

In less than two weeks, NaNoWriMo will begin. That’s right! On November 1, writers will flock to their notebooks, typewriters, and desktops in a frenzy to write fifty thousand words in thirty days.

Unfortunately, around the forty-thousand-word mark, many writers face something that’s daunting for even the most experienced writer: the dreaded middle. It’s going to be even tougher during NaNoWriMo because, let’s face it, you only have about ten thousand words to go, you’re tired, you still need to plan your Thanksgiving dinner, and there are other things you’d prefer to do instead.

You’re also no longer inspired. When you start a novel or a contest, you’re excited and motivated to continue writing. By the time you get to the middle of your story, however, you start to run out of steam, and you may not even feel like continuing to write. However, by taking note of these five tips, I promise you’ll overcome the dreaded middle and crush your writing goals.

Tip One: Preplan

Many writers use October to prep for NaNoWriMo. Preplanning and coming up with a rough outline before you start to write means you won’t get frustrated when you get close to the middle of your story. You’ll know exactly where you want to take your novel and what conflict you want to arise to keep your readers interested.

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a plotter, I highly recommend you take an hour or two to think about your novel and how you want things to pan out.

Tip Two: Ask Questions

Even with the best outline, we may still only have a vague idea of what we want to happen in our novel. To combat this problem, asking questions can be helpful. Ask yourself

  • What does my main character want?
  • What does my main character do, or need to do, to get what they want?
  • Is anything, or anyone, standing in my main character’s way?
  • What will happen if my main character doesn’t get what they want?

The goal here is that the more questions we ask ourselves about our novel, the more ideas we’ll come up with, and the more motivated we will be to write.

Tip Three: Change the Point of View

I love when authors write books from multiple points of view. Not only does this method keep readers interested, but authors don’t have a chance to get bored. Even if authors don’t utilize this tactic, it can help them see the story’s setting, plot, and main character from a different angle, and this can help them move the plot forward in new ways.

Tip Four: Work BackwardPlot Twist

How do you want your story to end? Often, when we as writers visualize the ending of our novels, it helps us see what we need to do to get our main characters to that climactic moment.

Tip Five: Plot Twist

I always enjoy a good plot twist. It shakes me to my core and keeps me engrossed. The same can happen to the writer.

Throwing in a good plot twist is not only easy but can also drive your plot forward or even change the course of your story. Of course, you want to make sure your plot twist is believable and natural, but for the sake of NaNoWriMo, I recommend going for it. You can always edit it out later.

I hope these tips will be helpful to you whether you’re writing during NaNoWriMo or any other time of the year. If you have any other suggestions to help writers overcome the dreaded middle, be sure to leave them in the comments below.

Happy writing!

Jade Young is a blogger and editor currently working on her debut novel. You can find helpful tips, writing advice, and writing resources on her website at You can also follow her on Twitter at @authorjadeyoung.

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