Writers of romantic stories generally dwell on love’s beginning or on its end, but largely neglect its middle… Kathryn Schultz Lost & Found: A Memoir

As readers, or viewers of tv/film, do we want to see the little moments that make up a day to day relationship? Or are we more interested in how they get together, or how they implode?

Does the middle of a love story just not interest us?

I guess this is personal for me: my work in progress is a love story, so I guess I want to know how do we want to read about love in fiction?

Do we want to hear the down and dirty of the fights?

The down and dirty of the sex?

The romance?

Date nights? Lazy Sunday morning of sleeping in?

Do we want to hear about how they just adapt to one another?

Are we afraid to look too deeply at the middle of a relationship because we don’t want to focus on the flaws? The inevitable tells that show us why this relationship might not work?

I have so many questions and no answers…

Does the middle of a love story matter?

55 thoughts on “The Middle

  1. I will be little help here as the modern love story is just not my thing- but… when reading about relationships I am curious about how 2 people came together, what seems to draw them and keeps them as a couple. As to the rest I would ask what the overarching theme of the book is. Sole focus on the couple and their life or is there another story interwoven or the main goal? If it’s the second then is “the middle” relevant to the theme? If the middle needs to be there then I would want an ending as well- rather the relationship tanks or goes on. I like neat stories that wrap up for the most part if the entire story centers on the couple to begin with. But how much middle??? This is why you are writing and I am not!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Personally…I want to know the boring parts…how does a couple navigate the day to day…how do they find out and react to the not so sexy parts of a persons personality…but fiction glosses over the nitty and the gritty

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Is that because adding all that in makes the story too long, too boring, takes away from another focus, never was the intent? I think if you want to write in the nitty gritty you should in your own work, but also know how that may impact who chooses to read, especially if most fiction doesn’t adopt that format.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Too boring. But I think this is why we have weird views on relationships…the impressions we read in fiction unfortunately make us view thungs in a certain way…I think we sometimes want the fairy tale…but that’s a whole other blog

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I think how you set up the characters and the follow up is very important and the details. The story must flow, unlike relationships at times. The writer only has so many pages to gain your interest, so they must focus on what is a tell about the characters and their relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it matters, but you ask a good question. I think a lot of popular fiction is more plot driven. Readers like the drama, but then you get to the end and realize you know very little (except the basic set-up) about the characters and their relationships.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I do like the details and the little things in a relationship. I don’t want a book to dwell on them, but I need that stuff to make the characters feel more real to me.
    But it is hard, getting the right balance for the middle!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thats the million dollar question! And I think it changes with each story in a way. I don’t think there is a magic answer. Its like what I heard at a conference. There isn’t a magical answer to how long a chapter should be, it just needs to flow. Not drag but yet not feel choppy and like you cut it off to soon. Writing is hard!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes. The middle matters the most. It is the part you usually don’t hear about though. Go back as an example, to the show All in the Family. Archie was a right wing conservative working man who always referred to his wife as a dingbat. She was the but of so many jokes and mostly appeared as a foil for him. But after the show had run there was a sequel where Archie was thinking about her, she had passed, and he regretted the fact that he never got the chance to tell her one more time that he loved her.
    See, the middle of a love story is also called life. The ups and downs the good times and bad. It brings us to the end and fills the void of our years here on earth. The beginning is all well and good. The end is I guess the last act. But the middle…the middle is what life is all about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my favorite protagonist is the character played by Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny. She seems offbeat but she knows her cars and is very New Yawkish….she is a good character along with the character played by Pesci and the characters intrigue us. This is the most challenging I believe for a writer-to create a character we enjoy, even if we don’t care for them or laugh at them. We remember them and we buy the series of books by the author.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Does the middle of a love story matter? Well, hell yeah….if you make it matter… You write. “Are we afraid to look too deeply at the middle of a relationship because we don’t want to focus on the flaws?”

    So call into question the veracity of your character’s perception of their lover’s flaws. Try a device. Start a chapter with short quotes from others who 180 the perception of How A thinks about B, and or vice versa.

    School Chums, former lovers, employers or employees. Psychiatrist, siblings, Parents,…offer counter understandings to what your characters think or feel about about their significant others.

    Or just write an out and about Manhattan… hip and smart Mom… helping her daughter, a newly minted Lawyer, solve the murder mystery of the decade. All I got.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Give it a shot…and remember…a lot of good writers are not good story tellers…LA… Don’t worry about your prose…find your story structure and a plot you can have fun with and you have the tools that will allow the tale to tell itself. Been a pleasure to watch you built your site LA. Stay well.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t usually read romantic fiction, but you know I love a good question, so I’m answering lol

    I wonder if readers of this genre are looking for a specific type of escape, and if so, then it would seem that they don’t wanna hear the middle, down-and-dirty stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s