Tutor profile: Abigail S.
I'm writing a book and although the beginning and ending chapters feel strong, I'm struggling with keeping the middle interesting. What should I do?
It sounds like looking at plot structure might help here. It's important to note that the stories I've written follow a western media plot. If you're looking for your plot to follow a non-western style, I'll be more than happy to research and help find methods that will better assist your writing! In my own experience writing for western media, I like to use the "beat" method that the book Save The Cat describes. If you're struggling with the middle part of your book, you might find it easier to break it into sections or "beats". Here's a very brief overview of the beats listed in Save The Cat, although yours can look however you want them to. - Setup: Lay down character, setting, etc. - Catalyst: An event happens TO the character that starts the story and introduces a "new world" (not necessarily fantasy; just something different than what they know). No reaction yet. - Debate: The character may consider whether they want to enter this "new world", whatever that may be, if they have a choice. Internal conflict may arise. - Break into 2: The character enters the "new world". This beat is short, often only a few sentences. - Fun and Games: The character experiences victories and defeats in their new world. - Midpoint: Stakes rise and inner conflicts are brought to the surface. Possibly a "false" victory or defeat since the character needs to make a change before succeeding, indicated by their inner conflicts. This is a great place for plot twists. - Bad Guys Close In: The antagonist(s) become more present and interact with the story more. The internal conflict and intensity heighten. - All is Lost: The worst thing that could happen happens. - Dark Night of the Soul: Another debating point. The character is at rock bottom and mulls over their decisions. They often have an epiphany and learn the story's lesson. - Break into 3: Story climax. The character reacts the most strongly yet to the problem. - Finale: The resolution. The character's learned the lesson, and it's up to you to decide whether they've learned it in time.
Subject: English as a Second Language
What's the difference between "they're", "there", and "their"?
"They're" is a combination of "they are". The words smash together and the "a" is replaced by an apostrophe ('). (they (a)re). Ex: "They are looking for you!" -> "They're looking for you!" "There" means "at that place". Notice the word "here" inside "there" to help you remember that it focuses on place. "Here and there". Ex: "She went there alone". "Their" is possessive. Something belongs to "them". Ex: "They left their cards".
I'm writing a literary analysis and have a paragraph that I don't feel fits in with the rest of my essay. The information in this paragraph is necessary to my argument, but no matter how I write it, it stands out. How can I fit it in?
There are several ways you can go about this. I would need to read the essay to give more exact advice, but here are some general methods you could apply. It's possible that the transitions between paragraphs are causing choppiness. A poor transition can make a paragraph stand out, even if the content flows perfectly with that written before and after it. A good way to ensure that your paragraphs surge into each other is to subtly introduce this new paragraph's point toward the end of the previous paragraph, then answer whatever questions the previous paragraph has raised. Another way you could go about this is to subtly mention points you make in this paragraph throughout the entire essay, rather than only in the previous paragraph's transition. Then by the time you get to this odd-paragraph-out, you'll pull strings together and can call on those earlier paragraphs for support. It'll be like a current under the rest of the essay that comes to the surface once you give it a spotlight. Finally, sometimes a more narrowed topic for an essay is a stronger one. You said the paragraph strengthens your argument, and this may be true; however, if the points you're pulling together read choppily, it's possible that your argument is too broad. You could try removing this paragraph and diving deeper into the details of something you've already written—see if the argument stays strong.
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