Tag Archives: manuscript

Top 10 Wrong Ways To Deal With or Avoid a Sagging Middle

This is not a post filled with diet and physical fitness tips. I’m not what you’d call a real good role model in that particular area. I did buy a pair of running shoes a while back, and if you just look at my feet, I look like a runner. However, if you scan up from there, the illusion is quickly blown (but I digress).

I don’t run. I don’t even hike…wait, did I say hike? Well what do you know…hike rhymes with like! And since you mentioned it, I’d be appreciative if you’d hike over to my Author Page and click Like. It’s at www.facebook.com/larrywtimm I’d love to break the 200 mark by the end of August. Tell your friends to go there too. The person who is my 200th Like may just win something (of course they may not, but let’s not dwell on that now.)

As writers, we all have had to deal with middles (of our manuscripts) that are saggy. Perhaps even sluggish and unappealing (which is how people often describe me). We seek out advice on how to deal with and/or avoid the dreaded sagging middle.

“Larry, do you happen to have any advice on what to do?”

Thanks for asking. But…nope, I don’t know what to tell you to do, but here are some things not to do. It’s my duty & pleasure to introduce…the Top 10 Wrong Ways To deal With or Avoid a Sagging Middle:

#10:  By having a blurb on the front cover that boldly declares, “This is the first novel in history in which the brilliant author has skipped the middle all together!

# 9:  By claiming that the middle has international intrigue just because you put an “o” on the end of every other word so readers will really like the the “el-middle-o.”

# 8:  By including a bibliography of “books that have more horrible middles than mine.”

# 7:  By putting a pop up section in the middle so that when opened paper villains jump up from the page and scare people to death.

# 6:  By printing the middle on edible paper so that readers can “at least get something good from it.”

# 5:  By drawing a little cartoon character in the upper right hand corner that looks likes he’s running from a stick Grizzly bear when people flip through the middle chapters really fast.

# 4:  Put 100 blank pages in the middle so that “readers can write their own snappy middle…if they think it’s sooooo easy!”

# 3:  Fill the middle chapters with 20 car chases, 14 gun battles, 12 knife fights, 10 kissy-face scenes, 8 explosions, 6 sharks, 4 pits of nasty snakes, 3 hurricanes, 2 giant ill-tempered turtle doves, and 1 immodest partridge in a pear tree. (and, no, I have no idea what that means).

# 2:  By putting in a “Smells of the Bible” scratch-n-sniff section.

# 1:  By dedicating the book to “My dear, sweet, recently deceased mother who used her last breaths of life to dictate the middle of this book, right after she single-handedly saved 75 poor, blind children from roaring inferno that swept through their orphanage on Christmas Eve…so they could live to enjoy the box full of puppies and kittens that Mommy had purchased for them from the humane society…with the money she’d received by selling her fake leg. It was a good thing she recently been evicted from her home by evil bankers and that the walls of her old cardboard box in the alley were thin enough to hear the little frightened voices calling for help from the broken windows of the condemned building they called home. The middle of this book meant a lot to my mom…I hope you like it too.”

Now…how does YOUR middle look?

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Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Life, editing, family, Larry W. Timm, reading, Top 10 List, Top Ten list, Uncategorized, Writing

What’s that smell?

Have you ever had anyone look at you through squinty eyes, their nose all scrunched up, and ask, “What’s thaaaaat smell?” Maybe you have noticed the offending odor, but have been unable to track down the guilty source. Or perhaps, like a teenager in his own bedroom, your sense of smell has been assaulted to numbness, leaving you unsure of what smell has the questioner’s nose bent out of joint. You might even be a tad embarrassed that you hadn’t noticed the stench before it went public.

Welcome to the writer’s life.

Nooooooo, I don’t mean that writers are smelly creatures, or that the task of writing stinks. What I’m referring to is your manuscript. Wait a minute! Relax that fist and take back what you just said about me and my fat head (my head is normal size, thank you.) And before you waste a perfectly good stove top by spilling tar all over it, let me explain what I meant. Please.

Every writer has stinky parts to their manuscripts. The problem is sometimes–many times, actually–we’ve sat in our own smell so long that we can’t tell roses from rotten eggs. We need to call in an independent nose to give our manuscript an objective sniff or two. Because, like it or not, your manuscript has a few rotten spots. Mine too.

Now, we can sit around and pretend that our manuscripts don’t have  pungent issues, or we can let a trained bloodhound follow the trail. Then we can eliminate the problem, and make our manuscripts far more enjoyable for our readers.

Don’ be afraid to expose your manuscript to people who can give you honest feedback. Join a local ACFW chapter or a similar group that encourages members to critique one another. Or develop a stable of first-readers who you can trust. Offer to read other writer’s manuscripts, in order to be of service to them too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go…something smells.

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Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, editing, reading, Writing

Nearing “THE END”

     Don’t panic! This isn’t a post about the cataclysmic conclusion of history. I haven’t secretly been working to break a previously unbroken biblical code, so that I can reveal exactly when the last grain of salt dribbles through the hour-glass of time.

     That’s not THE END that I’m referring to at all.

     (Cue drumroll): I’m talking about my second novel! In spite of obstacles, I hit the 80,000 word mark a few minutes ago, and am working hard to finish the manuscript tonight or tomorrow. Now keep in mind that the word count is the “pre-editing phase” word count. My freelance editor will no doubt put my manuscript on a diet. And I’ll have rewriting to do.

     It’s been a challenging journey to get the book finished. The last couple of weeks has been a comedy or errors…including two hard drive “glitches” that required my computer to go see the doctor, a big steaming pile of outside items that have pulled me away from writing time, and a trip to Barnes and Noble. Ahhhhhh yes, let me tell you about my trip to B&N. I took a personal day yesterday, intending to spend the entire day at B&N writing, drinking snooty (over-priced) coffee drinks, writing some more, editing, writing…writing…and finishing my manuscript, so that I could enjoy a great supper at Freddy’s with my best friend, then glide into my ACFW South-Central Kansas Chapter meeting with a smug glow, and announce, “Look at me, Look at me! I’m holding the flashdrive that has my freshly completed novel.”

     But pride cometh before the fall.

     Pop Quiz: Who do you think showed up at B&N at 10:00 am, opened his computer bag, and discovered that–for the first time in his life–he’d forgotten to pack the laptop’s power cord? Any guesses….hmmmmm?

     So I ran to a nearby electronics store to buy a new ac cord for said laptop. I stared at them…the price didn’t change…so I left without one. Long story short: by the time I drove 30 miles to purchase a used power cord, then drove back, I’d wasted a couple of hours.

     Then the computer worked, but my brain didn’t. All told, I put in about three hours of writing time. Hence, I never got to type “THE END.”

     One piece of advice has glowed during this challenging time:  successful writers are those who refuse to quit.

     If you’re a Christian writer, you’ve been called by God (see earlier posts) to write for Him. And the devil doesn’t want you to do it. Are you going to quit? God wants you to write…the devil doesn’t…YOU get the deciding vote.

     What are you going to decide?

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Filed under Uncategorized, Writing