So, how do you make jigglers? For those of you who don’t know, you increase the ratio of the mix to water. The result is a delightful half hour of yum and fun.
Yes, we can learn something from Jello Jigglers. Really, I’m not kidding. You see, as writers to avoid the sagging middle we need to add a greater ratio of plot threads to the story line in our novel.
In Act One of your story, you set up the story question, the inciting incident that sends the character on their journey to achieve something specific and the change that needs to occur in your character. If you go into act 2 and plot in a straight line forward, without thickening the threads it will sag.
How do I thicken the plot threads in my story to eliminate Act 2 Sag Disaster?
Think of your plot as a tree. The main plot is the trunk. This trunk is solid and the basis for everything else that will occur in the book. You establish the tree trunk in ACT One.
An example of a basic main plot: Darren is trying to arrest a drug cartel’s leader and put him in jail.
Here are some possibilities:
*Darren’s little sister died of an overdose from one of the drug cartel’s drug shipments.
*Darren’s childhood best friend is a runner for the cartel. He doesn’t want him arrested. Tries to get him out without compromising the charges against the leader.
*Darren used to have a drug addiction. Being around the drugs makes it hard for him to stay clean.
*The drug cartel funds a homeless project in his town. He is getting lots of local pressure to back off, because that project cannot afford to lose money.
Those are all examples of main branches that come out from the trunk. Now, if you look at a tree you will notice that those branches have smaller branches off of them.
Based on our basic main plot, here are some examples:
*Darren’s little sister was targeted to get him to back off. He is the reason she is dead.
*Darren’s best friend wants to get out, but he is addicted to drugs himself.
*Darren attends more of the recovery group at church to keep him from slipping back into his old habit. He meets a girl there who used to be a runner for the cartel. He gets information from her.
*Darren fights to make the plight of addiction in his town more vivid, more important to the community. So they can see that despite the cartel’s money, they are destroying the community.
You can keep adding branches from there to add in plot threads. Once in a while another tree or electricity line touches the branches and they interact. This is like peripheral plot, it comes in from the outside to fuel your plot.
A few examples:
*There is a missing persons report out on a girl about his sister’s age who was known to be a low level runner for the gang.
*A henchman has been ordered to take out his friend. He has to get him into protective custody and somehow talk him into going into rehab.
Does your plot thicken to avoid the middle sag? What are some other threads we could put into Darren’s story?