Contrary to common belief, the most difficult mystery novel chapters to write are not the beginning and ending ones. They are the middle chapters. The middle is the section in which the story often starts to droop. If the middle chapters droop then readers will either skip those sections or stop reading all together. Don’t allow your middle chapters to put your readers to sleep. Here are 5 ways you can prop up the droopy middle of a mystery novel:
- Start by reviewing the chapters and cutting any sections that are boring.
- Add a new challenge for your main character—another murder, increase the obstacles he must conquer or introduce a moral dilemma.
- Add a new antagonist. Someone who creates problems for the protagonist. You might turn a trusted friend into an unexpected antagonist. Betrayal is always painful.
- Have your protagonist discover that a truth he believed is false or a person he suspected was guilty was actually innocent or someone he thought was innocent is in fact the culprit.
- Add some humorous or romantic scenes or subplots.
Remember, throughout the middle of your novel it’s essential to continue to increase the obstacles—emotional, physical, moral—that your protagonist must face and master.