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The Writing Process and the Murky Middle!

Article by Louise Phillips © 26 July 2016.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().
I’ve talked a lot in the past about the murky middle of a novel. It’s where you’ve managed to get the essentials of the story down by introducing the fictional novel world to the reader, one with an array of characters, insights and a sense (albeit full of questions) of where the story is going – AKA Act 1.
Act 3, is the final segment of the story when I have a reasonably good idea of how it all will end, but I can change my mind at any moment’s notice.
The one sandwiched in the middle, is Act 2, which I refer to as the murky middle.
It gets even murkier when you’re like me and you don’t plot your story. Nor, do I know what my character are going to do next. Right now, I also have a whole load of things planted in the script that may or may not have an influence on the outcome. And yes, I know, people like the wonderful Jeffrey Deaver know the whole story before they even write a single word. But alas, the process is different for everyone.
Despite hating the murky middle, because it is at times, DIRECTIONLESS, and I have to write and rewrite myself out of many a cul-de-sac, I secretly like that some weird and often wacky surprises happen in these troubled murky waters, even if like this morning, I have conversations like this with my partner.
ME: ‘I have a word count of 1,500 words to do today.’
HIM: ‘That’s good.’
ME: ‘No, it isn’t.’
HIM: ‘Why not?
ME: ‘Because I’ve no idea what I’m going to write.’
HIM: ‘Don’t worry about that, you’ve been there before.’
ME: ‘That doesn’t help. What if I can’t think of anything?’
HIM: ‘You will.’
ME: ‘That doesn’t help either.’
Thankfully I squeezed the 1,500 words out….so I guess he was right, but there’s still tomorrow!

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LOUISE PHILLIPS is the bestselling author of five psychological crime thrillers. Her debut novel RED RIBBONS, and her subsequent Kate Pearson novels, THE DOLL’S HOUSE, LAST KISS and THE GAME CHANGER, were each nominated for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year. She won the award in 2013. Louise’s work has formed part of many literary anthologies, and she has won both the Jonathan Swift Award and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice platform, along with being shortlisted for the Molly Keane Memorial Award, Bridport UK, and many others. In 2015, she was awarded a writing residency at Cill Rialaig Artist retreat and she was also a judge on the Irish panel for the EU Literary Award. In 2016, she was longlisted for the prestigious CWA Dagger in the Library Award, and her first two novels, RED RIBBONS and THE DOLL'S HOUSE, were published in the US. She has recently been awarded an Arts Bursary for Literature from the Arts Council of Ireland, and her latest novel, THE HIDING GAME was published on September 5th 2019. It was shortlisted in the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards 2019. Louise Phillips is the crime writing mastermind behind writing.ie's Crime Scene blog.