"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand."
OK, let's talk about sagging middles today, shall we? And I don't mean the kind that seem to set in sometime after 30 no matter how many sit-ups one does. (That's another post altogether, especially since hubby and I are off on a beach vacation in less than 3 weeks which requires me to wear a bathing suit and lounge by the pool/on the sand for 5 straight days. But I digress...)
I mean the sagging middles that sneak up on you when you're writing. You're zooming along, pretty happy with the start of your story, pleased that your characters are taking on lives of their own, and then all of a sudden, there it is! That terrible screeching halt when the words stop coming and the plot falters and everything, everything, seems stupid and boring.
That's where I am right now in my latest WIP, One Night in Memphis. This is a novel I started 2+ years ago, my first attempt at the "24-hour novel." I abandoned it for One Night in Boston (which has since found a home with Samhain) and now I'm desperately trying to revive it. But it's not working. I revamped the beginning and added some conflict, which seemed to help. Now, about 1/3 of the way in, though, I'm stuck. My H/H are sort of meandering around, not doing anything interesting. The conflict takes off again in about 6 chapters, and from there to the end I think it's pretty solid, but I am frustrated to no end with the section I'm facing right now.
I've been avoiding even dealing with it for the last 3 days, though I know I should just sit down and write through it.
But I'm looking for advice. Fellow writers, what do you do when you're stuck in the middle of your story? How do you pick up the pace, increase the conflict (in a believable way), make the reader want to keep turning pages? I really need some help here...please...