Novel Update #2: Sagging Middle Syndrome

Novel Update #2

It’s been called lots of different things. “Sagging Middle Problem.” “Marathon of the Middle.” “The Middle of the Book Sucks Syndrome.”

I’m there, people.

For non-writers: When you are writing a book usually the opening is really strong, the climax is the stuff Netflix dreams are made of, but that big section between the inciting incident and the end is where most writers get lost.

Even though I’ve completed a draft of my manuscript (yay!) and am having beta readers from The History Quill review it and give feedback (double yay!) I still recognize that the middle of my historical fiction has plot holes the size of an eighteenth century ship, with chapters sagging as badly as sails on a windless sea. And did I mention I probably need to cut my word count? Like by 10,000 words. I need to cut a novella from my novel.


Apparently this problem is extra common for pantsers (authors who write by the seat of their pants) because their story lacks structure. Outliners, by comparison, are the goody-two-shoes writers who spend two years researching first and then outline their entire story arc before they type the first word. Guess which type of writer I am…

Oh well. Learning curve! Tomorrow I’m taking a break from editing to do a deep dive into story structure. I’m taking two online writer courses – one with Jerry Jenkins and the other with The History Quill. My goal is to complete more tutorial videos and apply them to my work in progress.

I’ll let you know how it goes next month. How about you? What do you think makes a great middle of a book?

Lisa 😉


Here’s my story. (Available on Amazon)

Copyright (c) 2022 Lisa Traugott. All rights reserved.




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