2019 Day 13 – Muddle in the Middle

The Prompt

Focus on the middle of your story

  • Write a sketchy opening today e.g. [Scene: Woman, alone in her living room. There’s a knock at the door…]
  • Create an ‘inciting incident’ AKA “Something that happens to change things” and have your character react to it, in a way that’s not helpful.
  • Start to topple the dominos from that initial incorrect reaction.
  • Write a sketchy ending. You can fix this up later. Focus on making the middle work!

Leave a comment and let us know how it went today.

23 thoughts on “2019 Day 13 – Muddle in the Middle”

  1. I jumped right into the middle of a fight over the running of a community festival with a woman who hates confrontation and a man who is paranoid that everyone is out to get him. I didn’t get to any resolution, but introduced another character that might be able to bring sense to the situation. Definitely not my best writing, but I got it done.

  2. Wrote about a girl who was having a secret smoke at home, when someone enters her home. The story ends with a revelation of how she escapes and who she escapes from.

  3. I’ve discovered that I am no longer a night writer – I wasn’t able to get to this piece until late evening and know for sure the story would have been more coherent had it been written earlier. I’m going to blame it on the beer I had with supper. Jumping into the middle of the muddle, There is a raging house fire. Tyson sits engrossed in his video game not realizing anything is wrong. Max, in the kitchen when the oil caught fire , threw water on It, yelled for Tyson to get out and called 911 as he raced out the back door. When Max realizes that Tyson is still inside he races back into the house, becomes disoriented and collapses. Meanwhile the fire trucks arrive and Tyson is rescued. Several minutes after Tyson is being attended to by EMTs people realize that Max is nowhere around. He is found in the back hall, brought out unresponsive and rushed to the hospital. The parents are taken to the hospital and Tyson is forgotten in the ensuing chaos. I doubt that there is a happy ending.

  4. Today I wrote a brief plan of a story, about a woman who finds her husband in bed with her best friend and the situation takes a very sinister turn. I enjoyed writing this story, but I don’t think it’s particularly original. If I go back to edit this after the challenge, maybe I can turn it into something more interesting.

  5. Where is Morty? Has Anyone Seen Him?

    Morty never missed a Tuesday Men’s Group Meeting at the V.A. Psych Unit, but as time wore on, it was obvious that he was not coming and while no one really gave a shit, I was highly bothered by his absence. Cliff was doing his best to stay awake next to me, but was failing miserably. He smells of Ben Gay and talc to cover up his body rotting odor he brought back with him from the jungle years ago. Normally Morty would be sitting where Cliff is, but Dr. Baldwin doesn’t seem to notice as he rambles on about good mental health.

    Good mental health? Was he in the shit with us when the rain didn’t stop and the holes we dug as shelter against the V.C. rockets kept filling with water before collapsing like they did on Private Early, six days in country and then drowned by his own hand. I’ll be his recruiter didn’t tell him about this. We spent six hours trying to reclaim him. He’d have been better off left to the earth, if you ask me. It was the silence that got to me as I dug and the rain kept falling. Sergeant Vetters just stood there watching and shaking his head.

    “Abbie, how are you this week?” Dr. Baldwin asks.

    “Where is Morti? Has anybody seen him?” I ask.

    “Probably recouping in some alleyway. He likes the homemade hootch, ya know.” Gabe snorts. Gabe snorts a lot, because he’s a rotund man by any standards and he will down a couple of Milky Ways as he’s talking about his type two diabetes and what a bitch it is. He was a chopper pilot who brought back his share of stranded GIs in various states of decomposition, so he has learned how to turn a blind eye on things most people would consider repulsive like some alley sleeper soiling him or herself because they could not be bothered to wake up to take care of business. Dumpster diving, ain’t no thing to Gabe either. He lives in a single room at the Y downtown where a lot of the hardcore junkies congregate. He don’t use, but he’s buds with them because most of them were in his posse before he left for the Shit. Gabe is alright despite his water buffalo build, but empathy is not something he has a lot to spare.

    “I don’t know where Morti is.” Dr. Baldwin states professionally and efficiently without any emoting. “Men’s Group is not mandatory.”

    That nonchalant shrug gets to me for a moment, my face flushes with anger, but I maintain my aplomb with a flash of a smile, “I know that, Dr. Baldwin, but Morti always comes to Men’s Group.”

    “Yes, I know.” He is somewhat insulted by my insinuation. “Perhaps he’s sick.”

    The shrug again. Gritting my teeth, I let the words slip through my clenched teeth, “We are all sick, that’s why we come, but Morty sees this group as an obligation…a mandatory formation.”

    He chuckles along with a few of the others, “I’m sure he’s alright.”

    “Are you?” This time I let a bit of my anger singe through.

    “Mr. Davis, as stated, this is a group of men who support each other in daily coping skills.” He was going to preach as if I was some savage in a remote jungle village who needed redemption.

    “I find it concerning that we are here supporting each other, but nobody gives a shit about Morty.” I could not help myself.

    “I do.” Gabe protested as he raised his massive hand. There were a few others who uttered approval of what Gabe said.

    Morty was living with his daughter after his release from the hospital. Her name was Alicia and she was a registered nurse. She fussed over him and while his complaints were never-ending, I knew he loved it, every bit of it. Who wouldn’t? Shoot, you sit for hours in the VA waiting room and they don’t even look at you when they say, “Sorry, you’ll have to come back tomorrow.” Patients have died waiting for a routine appointment which is why some guys bring in their empty .45’s threatening to shoot the place up. It gets their attention and you know you are going to see someone then.

    Both of my kids moved the opposite coast to get away from me once Agnes their mom had passed. I did 365 days in country and a wake up without a scratch, but then was deferred back when I joined the National Guard. Second week, my jeeps hits a landmine killing my driver and making me permanently disabled. I was in the hospital with head wounds when this angel came, checked my chart and with hands so gentle and warm asked me, “Sergeant Davis how are you this morning?”

    I had a tube running down my throat, but I did my best to say, “Fine, now that you are here.” We got married about a year later. Two years ago, she got the big C and in less than three months became this walking skeleton until she couldn’t walk anymore. Sarah was just finishing college and her boyfriend got hired by a west coast tech firm. Sonny moved onto Seattle to work for McDonald Douglas. And I was left rattling around in that big old house by myself except when Minnie comes three times a week to check on me. She usually walks in while I am sitting watching some soapy commercial sobbing my eyes out. She’s good, doesn’t ask me why, just hands me a box of Kleenex. Can I help it if I see Agnes outlined in the sunlight coming through that big window she used to dress up for the seasons?

    Where is Morty? Why isn’t he here? He’s always here. The meeting is almost over. I’ll catch the bus home and sit and watch old movies all day. Just like I always do. When I watch movies, they leave me alone. We all like the Duke. What’s not to like? Billy Fox said he used to sit with his dad every Saturday morning watching old black and white westerns. Billy stepped on a landmine in Danang and as hard as they tried they could not save him. He was on the stretcher, breathing his last, what a mess, and he handed me his silver cross the Chaplin gave him saying, “Sarge, make sure my mama gets this.” And I listened as the breath went out of him. I damn well made sure I sent it too. Never heard back, don’t reckon I really wanted to.

    Where the hell is Morty? He knows we’re supposed to be here. Where is he? Someone please tell me where he is.

  6. September Day 13 Muddle in the Middle
    I wrote a brief outline of the opening with a few notes on what else I would include.
    The middle flowed easily and developed quickly about an elderly lady trying to hide her confusion and loss of memory from her support nurse. In her lucid moments she realised what was happening and she didn’t want to give up her independence. She lets herself down and proceeds to try to redeem the situation but actually digs a deeper hole! I came to a halt after about 500 words as I realised I don’t know where this story was going!
    I need to ponder on this and return later.

  7. This was surprisingly difficult! I managed to get something written, but it was slow going and then ground to a complete stop. Maybe it’s just a bad-story day (I’m tired today), but I think it was also because I didn’t have enough of a sense of direction. My beginning was quite sketchy and I had no ending in mind, so eventually the story ran itself into a wall. I hopped over the wall with “[Stuff happens.]” and then brainstormed about an ending and jotted down some notes even though I hadn’t come up with anything satisfactory.

    Anyway, I’m glad to have gotten something down today. 🙂 And writing with so little sense of where the story was or would go was an interesting experiment. Now I know I can manage something without any direction, but I need at least a bit of direction to take it somewhere. 🙂

    These challenges have been fun and rewarding. Thanks!

  8. After a few days of hiatus, I was able to write my story today. It was about an interview gone completely wrong, with an open ended ending 🙂

  9. I used today’s prompt as an opportunity to ‘muddle through the middle’ of the story I’ve been working on the last few days. It got me over the hump, and I finished my longest piece for the month!

  10. I started with one sentence for the beginning and then launched into the middle. The story was inspired by a news article I read over the weekend. It is interesting enough to play with for now. I also did some freewriting and thinking about my novel. I am excited to think about beginnings and endings in the coming days!

  11. All sketchy I reckon. Sat outside in the rare sunshine after work with a little sugar rush and wrote something in my tiny ideas book. Got all sorts of muddled and not just in the middle. But a few hundred words written and I like some of my closing thoughts. I think I should have walked a bit more first, shake the ideas loose as someone mentioned.

    I’m struggling with anything too far outside my own experience. I don’t know what that is !

  12. Completed a brief opening and launched into the middle! I used the same characters I have ‘ painted ‘ after all my research for the dialogue challenge and it helped my idea build into a drama quickly. It was loosely based on a real life situation so I wrote more quickly than usual. I have a vague idea where it is going so will definitely work on this story again. Only 653 words though!

    1. Ah I enjoyed this. It flowed really well. And nice attention to detail with the chromebook and different laptops. I really want to know what was in the email 🙂

      1. Largely true. My mother’s house is next door to ours, but all the critters make themselves at home in hers. I didn’t even mention the bats and the wasps. And we lost a renter from there, because he and his wife said there was a ghost. No, I forgot: TWO ghosts.

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