A lot of workshops give writers micro-advice, but there’s a larger issue that hasn’t been addressed. Even if you fix a passage or sentence or beginning, you’re not taking care of what needs to be done. Punching up dialogue or adding a new scene gives you a good feeling, but it’s often cosmetic. Making those changes just makes your story marginally better.
Think of your work in a different way.
How did you lose that energy anyway? How do we let our books get that way?
"The middle is everything."
Meg thinks it’s often a foundational problem when you have a mushy middle.
All books start off with a grandiose fantasy. You know it’s good because it’s something preoccupies you. You want to write about it. You take it and start to push the story through an invisible funnel and you realize you can’t do everything and you have to make some choices. This is a moment when you getting serious about your novel. You can write about 80 pages of a book (without outlining), not worry about where it is, who’s going read it, if someone someone will buy it, etc. Once you have, print it, read it, and find out not what you hoped to do but what you really did.
If the writing is weak in a certain area it might be because the ideas in that section aren’t strong. Maybe it’s because you didn’t know what you wanted to express in that section.
Meg thinks flashbacks are a made up concept. In real life, we are always toggling back and forth from past to future and now. You don’t have a character stop and remember something. It should be fluid.
- Is the voice strong?
- Are you being faithful to a thought process that isn’t working? (why the 80 page rule works) -you can use ideas that don’t work
- Did you get off on the wrong track tone wise?
Revision is the greatest tool in the writer’s arsenal.