The Thing about Middles

When we read a book, we remember the beginning and the end. The beginning lines, the first conceptions of a story. We remember the lingering feeling of the last lines as we close the pages of a good book.

The middles are a blur.

Story middles are meant to be messed-up by design. Middles are stories of tiny victories and looming despairs. Middles are where the hero gets lost, where the protagonist gets beaten down again and again.

Middles are sometimes forgettable. There are some bright lights that stand out in the darkness, but they’re generally remembered as the mess the character goes through before the emerged, changed and victorious in their own way.

But middles are the most important parts of a story.

Because through the mess of circumstances, a hero changes. They become stronger. Their character arc becomes darker. They get kicked down, but the bruises make their bones stronger and the cuts leave battle scars. They learn to hold their head high.

Middles are where discoveries happen. There is the unexpected, beautiful line of prose. The sudden action of a character that spins you for a surprise.

When you are living your story’s middle, you have no idea where you’re going. You don’t know the end. You can’t peek at the last pages, because they haven’t been written yet. You must fight your way through.

Middles are complicated, frustrating, and confusing as hell. But in their ways, middles create their magic too–a nostalgic sense of journey, of reaching for something you’ve only had in your dreams.

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