The Ditchwalk Book Club is reading and discussing Rust Hills’ seminal work, Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular. Announcement here. Overview here. Tag here.
What is there to say about the middle of a story that hasn’t been said a thousand times? Little. So little, in fact, that while Hills’ previous section on Beginning runs six full pages, this section barely commands two pages, and a chunk of that is devoted to a diagram.
If the beginning of a story introduces a situation, then it’s fairly clear the middle will expand on that premise. Despite the obviousness of this continuity, no effort has been spared analyzing the alchemy that goes on in the middle of a story so as to improve the audience’s experience — if not also the bank accounts of the analysts. Whether armed with diagrams, buzzwords or paradigms, proponents of formulaic approaches feast on the middle because it is the meaty bulk connecting beginning to end. Whatever your genre, politics, religion, or favorite ice cream flavor, there’s a time-tested yet cutting-edge storytelling formula just for you — buy now! (All you have to do is add a plot, characters, dialogue, description, setting, tone, mood and your own distinctive voice.)