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Welcome to my blog. Here you will find tips that will help you write books and articles that establish you as the expert in your market.
                   --Lee Pound

April 2020
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Five Strategies to Make the Middle of Your Story Come Alive

Yesterday I showed you how to start an emotionally powerful story. Today I’ll give you some strategies that will make the middle of your story come alive and create the emotional response you want.

The first key emotional point in your story is when the opposition surfaces after your character attempts to solve his or her problem (see yesterday’s post). The middle of the story is an ever increasing cycle of attempts to solve a problem met by opposition that stops the character from succeeding. This continues until the climax, when the character finally succeeds and a new status quo is established.

The number of steps will vary depending on the length of your writing. A blog post or short article will have only one to three steps. A testimonial or case study may have only two steps. A full-length novel or movie may have 10 to 20 steps.

Here are five stragies that will make this section of your story (often called the ‘great muddle’ for obvious reasons) grab your reader’s attention and never let go.

  1. Make each step of the story more serious or difficult for the character. This means that the character attempts a solution in Step 1, faces opposition, and gets past the opposition only to face a bigger problem. Keep escalating the problems until you reach the climax.
  2. Create questions in the reader’s mind. When you create a question in the reader’s mind, you also create the desire for an answer. They key here is to not answer that question until you have created another new question for the reader. Never answer all the questions at the end of a chapter or stage of the story.
  3. Make sure the opposition is credible.  If we don’t believe the problem or situation your character faces is real or truly difficult, we will not believe the story. The key emotional element is that your reader can identify with the opposition and character at each point of conflict.
  4. Make sure the character’s desire for change is evident at all times. This is very important to creating tension and suspense in your story. You character must want the change for very good reasons or we will not believe the story.
  5. Lock your character into the story. This is also critical. The circumstances of the situation must make it impossible for the character to simply walk away from the problem. In a testimonial or case study, and even in your personal story, this might be items like immiment bankruptcy, loss of a job, poor business skills, or an accident or injury.

If you use all these techniques, you will create a story that drags your readers in and pulls them through to the end. They will want to know more at every step of the way. They will identify with the character and pull for him or her to succeed.

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1 comment to Five Strategies to Make the Middle of Your Story Come Alive

  • Thanks so much Lee for sharing these great techniques for adding suspense and drama to the middle of your stories. I will be sure to keep this in mind as I write my next speech.

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