I was looking for content to help me become a better writer when preparing for my first book, when I ran across something interesting. It was a book called Write Your Novel From The Middle by James Scott Bell.
I haven’t read the book, but I was sure it was not for me. It seemed to much hassle to start with the best part of the meal, just to go back and write events that lead up to all the awesomeness in the middle and the end. I thought I would feel obligated to write the beginning, and not be compelled or motivated any more.
However, when editing my First Draft, I’ve found that if I would have had an outline for the beginning, but haven’t written it, I would have more freedom to stuff it with all the foreshadowing I need for everything in the middle to work out. It would not be boring as my favorite part of writing is the foreshadowing.
The part where you basically shove something in the face of the reader, which she has no clue is going to be a plot item, or will have any significance. On the contrary, they usually just pass by it – if you write it well that is. It’s fun to think about all the ways you build in items, people or choices that you actually need for the middle to work, without having convenient events to occur out of nowhere ( I’m looking at you Uncle Benjen… )
If you go from the beginning no matter how you plan (and believe me, I certainly overdid it with the Snowflake Method) you’ll improve on you novel and will go back constantly to add the foreshadowing, when your new best brilliant idea comes up. If you start from the middle, you can just write a post it for every item, event, person or information you need to plant into the first half of the story. I still recommend having a structure, but don’t write it. Just don’t.
Start with what James calls the “Mirror Moment” in an article at Writers Helping Writers. It’s the part where the protagonists have their existential crisis or their lowest point. If it’s written well, it sets off the rhythm of the book, in both directions, James says.
I definitely see the benefits now. As soon as I finish Children of the Void, and before I start my next book, I’m definitely giving it a read.