I recently caught a great moment on TV, during a tennis match with Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios, when Nadal sliced the ball right past Kyrgios to win the game. Nadal pumped his fist and yelled something, something electrifying. Our TV was on mute, so I couldn’t quite make it out. But I could see the reaction pulse around him. The crowd was going crazy. Some people jumped to their feet. The camera cut to a guy in the front row–a coach, maybe–and he jabbed a finger in the air. I could read his lips, “That’s right!”
I asked my husband, an avid tennis fan, to tell me what happened. What did Nadal say to get everybody so fired up? “He said, ¡Vamos! It’s Spanish for ‘Let’s go!'”
As I reach the midpoint of my WIP, a novel, I need to channel Nadal’s energy. The midpoint is a common place where writers may have a slump in momentum, which may reflect in the story, too. “Sagging in the middle” or “middle sag” it’s sometimes called. It’s also the point where your character should go from being reactive to being proactive–reactionary to action.
In both instances, both the writer and the main character have to pump their fist and yell, “¡Vamos!”
- For the main character: bring her to the point where she asks herself: What kind of person am I becoming? Or what are the odds for success or failure? The rest of the way, she should work toward redeeming herself or bringing the odds in her favor (with roadblocks along the way, of course).
- For yourself, the writer: if the momentum is waning, it may mean that the story needs a dash of cayenne pepper. Consider twists in an upcoming plot point to spice things up. We need to give ourselves something to be excited about when we sit down to write.
Have you gone through the WIP middle sag? How do you stay fired up?