If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Kaye George's second novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Deadly Sweet Tooth, was released on June 2. Look for the interview here on June 10.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

On Navigating the Murky Middle by Joanne Guidoccio

I love beginnings—in life and on the page. Anything and everything is possible whenever a blank slate appears before me. That momentum can last for days, weeks, months, and sometimes even longer.

At least, that’s what I like to think whenever I begin a new writing project.

A linear pantser, I write brief character sketches, plot the first three chapters and the last, and then let the words flow. At some point, usually around Page 80, I encounter the murky middle, that nebulous place where I find it difficult to continue or sustain the tension of the novel. In short, I’m lost with no clear trail or direction in sight.

In the early days of my writing career, I struggled to regain my motivation, wondering if I should abandon the novel. Thankfully, I have discovered three strategies that have lifted me out of the abyss.

Professional Development

During my teaching years, I would sign up for summer in-service at different universities throughout the province of Ontario. These courses would last anywhere from three days to four weeks. Afterward, I would feel refreshed and ready to tackle a new semester in the fall.

While experiencing my second prolonged drought, I searched for the right course/workshop that could propel me over the writing hump. Online courses offered through Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, Savvy Authors, and Ed2Go have worked best for me. Lasting anywhere from one to four weeks, these courses succeed in inspiring and motivating me to return to the page. The key is to complete all the recommended exercises and actively participate in discussions.


In Think, legal analyst and author Lisa Bloom urges us to select books that challenge our points of view. Her argument: Our brains need a varied diet of books to stay sharp.

An avid reader of mysteries and women’s fiction, I decided to explore historical fiction written by a male author. During a cold, blustery winter, I spent the entire month of February reading the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett. The three tomes—Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, Edge of Eternity—follow dramatic events in the lives of five interrelated families (American, Russian, German, English, and Welsh) and sprawl over nearly 3,000 pages.  After that month-long reading marathon, I was ready to return to the calmer, less complicated world of my WIP.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

This is the Red Bull solution that has helped me avoid two murky middles. In 2016 and 2017, I joined millions of authors worldwide and made the commitment to write 50K words during November. Inspired and motivated by the online community and local meet-ups, I wrote at least 1,667 words each day and completed very rough first drafts of two novels: A Different Kind of Reunion and No More Secrets. Whenever I encountered a roadblock, I typed INSERT CHAPTER and continued writing. My well-honed left brain appreciated the badges, and I wanted to wear the Winner T-shirt!

Trailer – A Different Kind of Reunion

Click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne Guidoccio writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.


KM Rockwood said...

Great suggestions! I think many of us suffer from the "murky middle" problem.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I agree with Kathleen on the murky middle. I throw in a subplot and amp up the pace.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks KM! I find it a common problem among writers and feel reassured when others share their "murky middle" stories. :)

Joanne Guidoccio said...

I've also added a sub-plot and additional characters to a couple of my books. Thanks for dropping by, Margaret :)

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks for hosting me, Elaine :)

Warren Bull said...

Good idea for avoiding the mid manuscript sag.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks Warren!

carla said...

Middles can be HAAARRDD. One writer called said it was "like driving through Texas." It goes forever and you don't think you'll ever get there.

Gloria Alden said...

Good ideas on that middle problem where I am now. I'm a reader, too. Last year I read 97 books and most of them were mysteries except for the ones picked by the two book clubs I belong, too. I've put your name on my list of TBO books to read.

Shari Randall said...

Thank you for these great ideas, Joanne! I've never done Nano, but now you've got me thinking about it.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Carla, Love the comparison! For me, driving through parts of Northern Ontario approximates that "murky middle" feeling. :)

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Gloria, 97 Books...that's impressive! I read between 50 and 60 books a year.Thanks for the support. :)

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Good to see you here, Shari. I didn't think I'd ever do Nano. But now, I'm hooked. :)

Grace Topping said...

Thanks for visiting us at WWK. It was the Ed2Go course on How to Write a Mystery that got me started. I don’t think I would have come up with a finished manuscript without having taken it.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Grace, Always a pleasure to visit WWK. I've taken several courses with Ed2Go and highly recommend them. Only 6 weeks in length and chock full of wonderful content and advice.

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