Master the Mystery Novel Midpoint — ZARA ALTAIR

A New Hook In the Middle

The midpoint is the connection between the first and second halves of your mystery. In the first half of your mystery, the sleuth uncovers the victim’s world. In the Send half, the sleuth narrows down the suspects to the villain.

Create A Dark Road Ahead

The middle can be the most challenging part of the story. It can stall or feel as though it’s not going anywhere, or at least not going well. A reversal in the middle, not only props up the story, it gives the reader a new question. Where is the story going?

The Midpoint Reversal

The midpoint reversal throws the entire plot sideways. Things have to change because your sleuth’s plan is no longer viable. Things have to change.

Tips to Create Your Midpoint Reversal

Planning the midpoint reversal will propel you into the second half of the story, build tension, and raise questions.

  1. Pile on trouble. The midpoint is the beginning of everything going wrong for your sleuth. In the first half, your sleuth creates their own trouble. In the second half, trouble piles on. It comes from the outside, often instigated by the villain antagonist. And, your sleuth reaps the consequences of everything they’ve done wrong, consciously or unconsciously.
  2. Support system collapses. People and things the sleuth has relied on until now get stripped away. Characters who helped before may now be unwilling or unable to help. From the midpoint, you lead your sleuth to the dark moment when they are helpless, especially in the case of the villain.
  3. The clock starts ticking. Introduce a hard deadline to raise the stakes and make things even harder on your sleuth. Your sleuth understands the full extent of the problem. Now they know what’s coming at them at high speed.

Plan the Midpoint Reversal to Boost Your Story

The midpoint reversal sets the story in a new direction. You’ll avoid the notorious sagging middle. With a new promise of things to come, you’ll send the story in a new direction and create new twists. You’ll invigorate your story with an unexpected turn, causing your reader to anticipate what will happen next. You create an unexpected direction.

Mystery author Zara Altair writes clues for writers who want to write a great mystery.

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