I feel as if I’ve been talking about this novel for years. I started writing it before grad school, where I ended up finishing it as my thesis submission. Since I completed that draft, I’ve worked on at least three other novels with varying degrees of (un)success. Every time, I’ve come back to this one. Ever since I started writing it, I have had a clear view of the beginning and the end, but the middle has been the biggest puzzle for me to solve.
Last month, I went to a conference called AWP in Portland, Oregon. It’s a four-day event where thousands of writers and teachers of creative writing get together to sit on panels and talk about their writing, their teaching, and everything related. One of the panels I attended, How to Structure the Middle of Your Novel, was packed. Every seat was taken, people stood along the walls, and others sat on the floor wherever they could. I even ran into my friend Anna Ling Kaye, whom I haven’t seen in about five years.
Apparently, a lot of us have problems with the middle of our novels.
Somewhere in the middle of taking notes as the panelists spoke, though, I started working on the middle of the novel again. I think I finally know how to get from where I am in the middle to the end.
I hope to be finished soon. Meanwhile, though, you can read an excerpt from the novel, tentatively titled Harvest, over at Embark Literary Journal.
Let me know what you think. And, if you enjoy it, I’d be grateful if you’d share it with anyone else you think might like it.