How to Close the Midpoint of Your Story

Transitioning to the Resolution

Photo by Mikołaj on Unsplash

You’ve written your story up to the midpoint, congratulation! Or maybe you haven’t gotten that far yet, but you’re already thinking ahead. Still, you deserve some accolades. Even if you haven’t started yet, the fact that you’re reading this means you have plans to write a book. Kudos to you too!

You’ve reached the daunting midpoint, you’ve successfully crossed the inciting incident of your story, given your protagonist a plan and delivered a gripping plot twist. Now, how do you close the midpoint of your story and transition to the resolution?

Maybe you’ve written all there is you need to write, but the problem is, you don’t know how to close the midpoint of your story.

You’ve written all you think you can write in the midpoint, but your word count is still below half of the intended word count for your novel. What do you do?

Let’s attempt to answer those questions, shall we?

Writing the Midpoint of Your Novel

If you read my article “How to Keep Readers Interested in Your Novel”, you might recall that I said the midpoint of any novel goes basically like this; Reaction>Plot twist>Action.

The protagonist faces an inciting incident from Act 1 and responds to it with a reaction. This is what ushers the story into Act 2 or the midpoint of your story. The Reaction usually comes after your protagonist has made a decision on how to reach their goal while avoiding their greatest fear.

Then the game-changing plot twist comes when the protagonist comes to a realization, or is presented with a situation that’s shocking. This also affects their plans and makes them restrategize.

This brings us to the last part of your midpoint, which is the Action.

Closing the Midpoint with Your Protagonist’s Action

This is where you ask yourself; What action is my protagonist going to make in light of the game-changing plot twist?

Remember, all decisions your protagonist makes should be based on their fears and misbeliefs. This is how to best drive the plot forward and deliver a meaningful story.

You can’t just place your characters in the middle of a situation and just let them roll with it. They have to fight back against the plot with decisions of their own.

And every decision should be in pursuit of their ultimate goal. This is what brings up questions in the mind of the readers, and then elicits curiosity. They then get an answer which is their reward, which then releases dopamine into their minds, which gives them a feeling of pleasure and makes them crave more. This is the psychology behind storytelling that make people hungry for more.

The Action your protagonist would be taking here is just like the second inciting incident. Your protagonist is presented with another situation where they have to make another impossible decision that pushes them further out of their comfort zone.

But remember, your protagonist has to make the decision based on their fear and misbelief. And every decision that they make has to lead them into even more trouble.

Why is that, you might ask.

This is because everything that is going on is just leading your protagonist to the disaster, their darkest moment where they think all hope is lost. And what better way is there to do that than to make them think they are making the best of decisions?

Remember, everything you are writing is supposed to draw in your readers and make them hungry for more, delivering to their brains another dose of dopamine.

But how are you going to do that from the midpoint? The answer is to build up to the second pinch point of your story.

What is a pinch point? This is simply the point in a story where the antagonistic force looms ahead. After the inciting incident when your protagonist makes a decision, your first pinch point should come in. This is what elicits curiosity in the minds of readers and makes them hungry for more. Many writers try to achieve this same effect with exciting and adventurous scenarios; however, they are only making plot-driven stories that wouldn’t be memorable.

Your second pinch point should come in after your protagonist makes their new plan based on the events of the plot twist. This pinch point should show that the antagonistic force is looming even closer than ever before. This is what builds suspense and releases that burst of dopamine in the minds of readers.

You want to give your readers a cycle of questions, curiosity, answers, and dopamine release, throughout your story. This is the science behind storytelling that makes people love stories even though they don’t realize what is making them love them so much.

This is how you close your midpoint; with a pinch point that shows the antagonistic force looming ahead. You want to build suspense for the upcoming disaster that your protagonist might have to face in the Resolution of your story. (I’ll cover that in another article)

So ask yourself the following questions when writing the end of your second act:

What new plan is the protagonist going to make based on the events of the plot twist in pursuit of their goals?

Do they believe their new plan is the best plan while avoiding their greatest fear?

In what ways can the antagonistic force of the story loom closer and build suspense?

If you can answer those questions, you should have no problems closing the midpoint of your story. You can then enter into Act 3 which is the resolution.

What other ways do you close the midpoint of your story? Kindly share your thoughts, I’d love to learn from you as well.

Samuel is a creative writer and a freelance ghostwriter. He has written books for a number and clients and published two of his own. He’s a lifelong learner and teaches others what he learns through his writing journey. You can check out more about his service here.

How to Close the Midpoint of Your Story was originally published in The Writing Cooperative on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Author: Samuel Olaniyan