Lately, it seems like the middle is not so much a sagging mess, but my honeymoon phase. I'm well past the halfway mark (at least according to word count ... please let the word count work out this time), and although I'm officially in the middle, I'm mired in the beginning.
See, every time a character makes a choice, every time a new little tidbit pops up and happens, I feel the need to go back to the beginning and make sure the motivation, the foreshadowing ... the root is there.
You know the adage that says if there's a gun in chapter one, it must go off in chapter five?
I think the inverse is also true. If you have a gun go off in chapter five, it's more powerful if you plant it in chapter one.
And when you plant the gun is important, too. If you plant the gun a few pages before, it's not as powerful as if you plant it chapters and chapters before.
Sure, it'll work, but ... it's too handy, sometimes.
Every little tidbit at the beginning promises something. I think of the beginning as a microcosm of the whole story, in a way. All the roots must be firmly entrenched in the beginning. I don't like roots in the middle. They feel planted; they feel too handy.
So lately, as I write, I go over and over and over the beginning, making sure the story logic holds up.
My ending is the same way. As I write, I make little notes on little tiny threads that will give the story that "completed" feel.
I still write beginning to end, but as I go, I have to edit and tweak the beginning so much, that if feels like by the time I get the beginning polished and finished, I'm already writing the end. And as I smooth out the middle, I'm tweaking the ending to make sure each root has a parallel stake in the ending.
And as I write the ending, I'm going through the middle, making sure the ending has well-planted roots in the middle. And as I go through the middle, I'm looking for roots in both the beginning and the end.
My process has just recently gone weird on me. I don't really know what to make of it. I feel like by the time I get done with beginning, I'm writing the end. And I miss the middle.
I love the middle.
I guess I've stopped looking at my stories so linearly, but have been seeing the form from a bird's eye view. It's so different, I'm still a little weirded out by it, I guess.
Has your perception ever shifted like that? And do you take the bird's eye view as you write, or later, in the revisions? Speaking of which, how do you manage to hold it all in your head, and see the whole thing at once?