Writers put a lot of value on beginnings and endings, and well we should. I’ve heard a publishing professional say that your beginning will sell your first book; your ending will sell your second. Fair enough. But do we sell the rest short by putting so much emphasis on the first and last? What about that middle?
I have another college story. (Sorry. There are just so many comparisons!) As a performance major we had to do juries every semester. Two monologues, two songs, and a dance solo, and all our professors would give us ratings and written critique. And that was on top of all our other written finals. Needless to say it was a scramble. One student said, “Just give ’em a memorable beginning and end. You can muddle through all the rest.” And muddle we did. I remember lots of muddling.
The thing is, if everyone is great in the beginning, and great in the end, how can you separate yourself from the pack? I’ve read hundreds of beginnings that hook. I’ve read the same amount of endings that are memorable and satisfying. But my favorite books, the ones that stay with me long after I’ve read them, do not muddle through the rest.
I’m currently revising my middle. Trying to have less muddle.