I’m closing in on something I’ve only down once before—finishing the middle book of a trilogy. (And the one I did will most likely be gutted due to massive planned changes in book one, but that’s a tale for another blog a year or two down the line ;)).
Thing is, I am writing the dreaded “squishy middle book”. Sort of like the middle movie in a beloved trilogy, you’re excited for it, but you’re afraid maybe it will just be space filer until the action of the third installment.
Let’s face it, the middle segments in a series are their own special pain in the ass. And it’s not really their fault, they’re surrounded by heavy hitters. The excitement of book one—a new world, new characters, new everything! It builds a rising tension that while partially resolved at its end, also leaves some big dangling threads for readers to wonder about and stew over while waiting for book two.
On the other side the poor middle book has the final book of the trilogy. Usually more massive in scope, with battles, confrontations, and story endings.
Those are two pretty serious siblings the poor middle child has to deal with! The middle has to try and develop some of the plot points from book one, work in new ones, give lots of good juicy bits for its own sake, but also build in some new trails for book three.
And it needs to not sag.
I will say I am really enjoying book two, it’s probably about 96% done at this point in a linear book fashion, but I already know where I will be going back in and weaving stronger sub-plots of its very own. I am a pantser—aka make stuff up as I go along with a final goal for that book in my head. But since I also had the trilogy goal in my head, I may have gone a bit light on the sub-plots.
But it is difficult balancing what happened in book one and what will happen in book two. Walking that fine line of keeping things exciting, but not letting too many secrets out of the bag ;).
How do you feel about the middle book children? As a reader, what are your favs? As a writer, any tips? ;).