Susan Mary Malone Writes Essay On How to Avoid the “Sagging Middle” When Crafting a Story

DALLAS, TX: Susan Mary Malone, ( developmental editor and author, has recently published an essay for the writing community on the subject of plot creation and “the middle” of a story. Ms. Malone talks from the experience of not only editing the works of others, but having written and had published fiction and non-fiction works of her own as well.

In her essay, she says, “What trips up more writers than anything is the middle section. This comprises over half of your book. It’s the meat, where the story and characters deepen. Where you take off on different tangents that all come back, eventually, into the mainstream, the main theme, the raison d’etre. In other words, the middle section of the book will make or break your novel.

“What we see most often here is sagging middles. Yep, the book’s setup is great. And it comes to a satisfying conclusion. But the middle is either so jumbled and convoluted, or, more often, very little happens here. The pacing lags, the characters take paths that don’t lead back to the story question, the book’s middle sags, and your reader has just gone off to make a sandwich. Once lured away, he rarely comes back. So, how to keep this from happening?”

The full text of the essay can be found here:

Susan Mary Malone has worked as a freelance editor since 1993, with a BS in Political Science and minors in English and Journalism. Her client list includes NY Times Bestsellers, Essence Bestsellers and books featured in Publishers Weekly. She is also an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction herself. She participates as a speaker in literary conferences such as the Harriett Austin Writer’s Conference (at the University of Georgia), the Blue Ridge Writer’s Conference, the SouthWest Writer’s Conference, and the East Texas Writer’s Guild, among others. Her full biography and featured list of published authors can be viewed at