Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mid-Point Reversal

It’s mid-point through NaNoWriMo. How is the writing going? Great I hope!

I thought the middle was the perfect place to talk about the mid-point reversal. It is what keeps your middle from sagging.

The mid-point reversal should be just that a reversal. A reversal of your characters luck. A reversal of your reader’s expectations. A reversal that shocks us.  A reversal that changes the direction of your story. A reversal that reveals a secret.

Don’t know where to start? Ask yourself a few questions?
  • What is the worst thing that could happen?
  • Is there a secret that could throw us?
  • What could happen to make your antag give up?
  • How could the antag get the upper hand?
  • What is something your protag needs to know to win in the end?
  • Is there a twist to send the story in a new direction? 

In my first MS the mid-point reversal is actually positive. My characters get help in an unexpected place. And that surprise is what changes the course of the story. So it doesn’t need to be negative—just twisty. 

Famous mid-point reversals (well semi famous):
  • Pride and Prejudice—Darcy proposing to Elizabeth.
  • The Hunger Games—Katniss finding out she and Peeta can team up in the hunger games.
  • Twilight—Edward confesses his feeling for Bella.
  • The Sorcerer’s Stone—Harry finds out Voldemort is looking for the Sorcerer’s Stone.  

Notice how in each of these examples the reversal changes the trajectory of the story.
Good luck with your middle, and happy NaNoWriMo!


Ruth Josse said...

Awesome! I just realized the reversal in my story comes too soon. Hmm. Lots to think about.

Cassie Mae said...

Great post! My reversal is right where I want it to be. Thanks for making me feel good about it :)

Abby Fowers said...

Once again... another fabulous post that I need to bookmark! This is great. If I can ever finish my final paper, I will be coming upon this "reversal" in my story. Can't wait to get back to writing the good stuff (which doesn't include papers for school.) :)

Meredith said...

I definitely need to work on my mid-point reversal--those questions are fantastic! Thanks so much!

E.R. King said...

I'm 35k into my book, so I just wrote my reversal. Ha! Good timing, Angie.

Stacy Henrie said...

Great info - middles can be tough! I like using the outline from Save the Cat, which basically says the same thing - either a false victory or a false defeat.

Kim said...

Angie, this is great advice! And, like ER King, I too am nearing the middle of my current WIP, so this couldn't come at a better time:)
Continued good luck with NaNo...

Sara Bulla said...

This really helps me clarify things. My WIP is really muddy at the moment, but this helps me get a bit of structure. Thank you!

Maria Hoagland said...

Thanks for the post! I needed that right now in my BIAM! And thanks for remembering me (I am referring to your comment on Shelly Brown's post)! Glad to "get in touch" with you again. Happy NaNoing.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Good advice! Definitely something I will keep in mind as I wade through the piles of papers and post-its and scraps to actually find my story. Sigh. I know it's here somewhere...and when I find it, I will add the reversal. :)

Tasha Seegmiller said...

Hmm...I think I have a twist/discovery and then a reversal. Well, at least the reversal is in my head. I don't think I've quite got there yet.

And that's why I'm NaNoing :)

Great post.

Kelley said...

Good post! I think I've got mine where I want em' :)

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Ooo, I love stuff like this. Such a helpful reminder to make sure that the plot structure is there. Especially when you're writing so fast sometimes the structure gets a little muddled.

Karen said...

It's nice to see a novelist talking about the midpoint. I do screenwriting as well, and there is a heavy emphasis on midpoints there, but I rarely see them mentioned in novel writing. And they work so beautifully in both.

Sarah Pearson said...

Thank you for the reminder. I need to shake a few things up a bit :-)

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