The middle of your mystery novel is the longest story segment in your book. Don’t allow it to sink into a sea of insipid verbiage. I’m referring to what occurs when the prose that fills the large space between your novel’s opening and its climax fails to hold your reader’s interest. The most important strategy to prop up the middle of your mystery novel and prevent a disaster is to increase tension. Know your story goal and don’t let the reader lose sight of the goal or the consequences of failure. Try some of these strategies to prop up the middle of your mystery novel.
- Each time the hero takes a step closer to achieving the story goal have the villains take a step closer to thwarting it.•
- Consider how a minor character you introduced in the first part of your story might have a bigger presence in your protagonist’s life.
- Frustrate your protagonist. Everything she tries seems to worsen her position.
- Add some humorous or romantic scenes.
- Have your protagonist discover new things about herself—some good things, some bad things.
- Deluge your protagonist with internal conflicts that impede her conquering external challenges.
- Introduce a second dead body. Now your protagonist has to deal with two murders. Will there be a third?
- Vary your chapters and scenes by writing them from different points of view—the sleuth, the murderer, a supporting character.
Make your mystery novel middles interesting enough so your readers will not skip large segments but will savor the scenes as much as they savor the climax.