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About the Writer:

With a tender heart, a drive for learning and a gift for sharing, Margaret brings her years of experience as a licensed professional counselor and a woman of faith to all her writings. Her insights and biblical understanding bring home principles we all can use - no matter the circumstances we are in.


Writing Coach Corner

Stuck in the Middle

By Margaret Cook, M.Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor, Life Coach

Writing is always more fun when you get to the meat and the potatoes of your story – the middle – the good stuff between the bread!  Last month we talked about creating a hook in your lead that will keep the reader intrigued. The middle is about motivation. Once the reader is hooked on the story, you will need to set a pace that the reader enjoys and will keep for paragraphs or pages.

If you read all of the Writer’s Coach Columns, you will remember that I am a big fan of outlining. When we work on the middle of an essay or story – an outline will have a dramatic effect on the quality of your writing. Organize the information well by writing your working outline first.

The middle is where you balance the meal. Think about adding the protein, the vegetables, the flavorings and the range of nutrients that a meal needs. It is a balance between enough detail in a portion size that promotes health and well-being. Too many details are like too much of a good thing. Not enough details will leave a story bland. Make it interesting and arrange it beautifully to assure that every word is a delight.

Outline the details or phrases or ideas you want to include and then arrange them in a way that will lead the reader to a climax or central message. Then pull things together in a wrap-up or resolution that leaves the reader with some emotional aftertaste. This will keep them looking for more of your articles, writing comments or becoming a fan. At Next-Step-of-Faith, we always pray that our readers will come closer to Jesus as they enjoy your writing. Consider the impact your story will have on the life of your reader and the most important relationship of life. It also helps you realize how important your writing is to God. Every story has the potential to build the kingdom.

Once you have a good outline, start writing. After you have a first draft, re-read and revise paying attention to ways to make sentences shorter and stronger. Make sure the ideas flow well from one to the next to be well organized for the reader. Take out details that seem like “extra” information, but make sure you have enough details to engage the reader. Play close attention to the transitions from one paragraph to the next and from one idea to the next. The idea is to have strong, smooth transitions that help the reader stay with your ideas beginning to end.

Read your story a few times and continue making it stronger and easier to read. Focus on improving the “feel” of the story so that the reader has an emotional connection to the story by the time it is over. The beginning of the story sets the table and beckons the reader to come. The middle of the story satisfies the reader with good things including the relationship and conversation that make the time memorable. In the next article we will talk about creating the ending. Don’t you wonder what is for dessert?



Copyright © October 2007 – Margaret Cook. All rights reserved.
Permission to use or duplicate this article is available by contacting the author at


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