Master the Mystery Novel Midpoint

road leading into the dark

A New Hook In the Middle 

The midpoint is the connection between the first and second halves of your mystery. In the first half of your mystery, the sleuth uncovers the victim’s world. In the Send half, the sleuth narrows down the suspects to the villain. 

It sounds simple. But you need a bridge between the two journeys. The midpoint, is the fulcrum that tilts your sleuth from discovery to constricting the search. 

Create A Dark Road Ahead

The middle can be the most challenging part of the story. It can stall or feel as though it’s not going anywhere, or at least not going well. A reversal in the middle, not only props up the story, it gives the reader a new question. Where is the story going? 

You want to give the reader a feeling that the road ahead is dark and impenetrable. You accomplish this with a big reversal.

The Midpoint Reversal

The midpoint reversal throws the entire plot sideways. Things have to change because your sleuth’s plan is no longer viable. Things have to change. 

With the reversal, the sleuth’s goal to catch the villain is harder. Not only that, the stakes become higher and the consequences become serious, especially if they fail. Your sleuth goes from reacting to the crime to actively working to find the villain. You create a new momentum and begin driving the plot toward the ending.

You shake up the plot and cause your sleuth’s world to turn upside down. Things they thought they knew won’t be true or lies they believed won’t be lies. Everything becomes unstable. 

While your detective rearranges the puzzle pieces, he sees something new/ has an epiphany that tells him he’s been looking at the wrong details. It could be that the suspect who seemed like the right one reveals an alibi that puts them out of the picture. Whatever it is, he’s still lost in the victim’s world and realizes he’s been looking at the wrong clues.

Your detective, stumped by recent events, tries going back to old interpretations. She reviews what suspects said, considers the victim’s world, and pokes around in it, completely missing key elements. She’s regrouping but sees nothing new. 

Soon your detective will set a new goal that leads them to the conclusion, but for now, at the midpoint, they are lost. 

Tips to Create Your Midpoint Reversal

Planning the midpoint reversal will propel you into the second half of the story, build tension, and raise questions. 

  1. Reveal new information. Something that was hidden, a secret revealed, new evidence—anything that disrupts everything the sleuth has thought or done before. Create a surprise that throws the story for a loop. Or, your sleuth gets what they thought they wanted, but it turns out to be the worst thing for them. Their success has terrible consequences. However the new information comes, the change in perception is critical to push the sleuth into the second half.
  2. Pile on trouble. The midpoint is the beginning of everything going wrong for your sleuth. In the first half, your sleuth creates their own trouble. In the second half, trouble piles on. It comes from the outside, often instigated by the villain antagonist. And, your sleuth reaps the consequences of everything they’ve done wrong, consciously or unconsciously.
  3. Support system collapses. People and things the sleuth has relied on until now get stripped away. Characters who helped before may now be unwilling or unable to help. From the midpoint, you lead your sleuth to the dark moment when they are helpless, especially in the case of the villain.
  4. The clock starts ticking. Introduce a hard deadline to raise the stakes and make things even harder on your sleuth. Your sleuth understands the full extent of the problem. Now they know what’s coming at them at high speed. 

Plan the Midpoint Reversal to Boost Your Story

The midpoint reversal sets the story in a new direction. You’ll avoid the notorious sagging middle. With a new promise of things to come, you’ll send the story in a new direction and create new twists. You’ll invigorate your story with an unexpected turn, causing your reader to anticipate what will happen next. You create an unexpected direction.    

Write your mystery with confidence with Write A Killer Mystery.

Image adrian on Unsplash

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