OAAA 2016: LS Mooney on Middles

April 11, 2016     erinthebooknut     Feature, Guest Post, OAAA

Everyone welcome a new face to OAAA, a self published author by the name of LS Mooney.

Hi Everyone! *waves enthusiastically*


I am so excited to be participating in Ohio Author Appreciation in April this year! My self-published debut THOROUGHLY MODERN MIRELLA is out this month as well so April might just be my new favorite month.

I was originally going to share a playlist with you but I realized it was slightly bizarre and might only make sense to me. Then I wanted to share my fantasy movie cast except that the people I want to cast are the incredible students I have the privilege to work with and thus can’t post their photos. Finally, I thought I might share the old opening of my debut except that seemed presumptuous to assume you would even be interested with the release just upon us.

So, I decided to talk about middles. When I started writing TMM, I started with the beginning. I wrote for ten straight chapters and then realized I had completely lost the plot, the pace, and the voice. After a slight panic attack and conversation with my fabulous critique partners, I started writing again, from the end. I wrote the last five chapters backward from the end and loved them.  

Awesome, I had a beginning and an end and a big, gaping hole where the middle should be. I tried to keep writing backward but it was hard to pace myself and know what had or hadn’t happened yet. I tried to keep writing from where I left off in Chapter 10. That was a minor disaster and all those words have been permanently deleted. So, basically I was stuck.

Except that I wasn’t. Not really. I knew what I wanted to happen in the middle, I just couldn’t get it out in fully formed chapters. So I got a stack of post-it notes and wrote all the scenes I wanted to happen between the end of Chapter 10 and the beginning of Chapter 24.  Then I started sticking them to the chalkboard wall next to my desk in a vague order. Then I grabbed chalk and put broad dates over the vague groups.

Boom. Outline. Done.

Wait, I’m not done. Geez, I’m a guest here and you think post-it notes and chalk are all the advice I come to you with? Puh-lease!

Now I had a plan, but somehow I was still struggling to write the middle in order. So, in a fit of frustration, I started writing a scene that had been screaming to be written even though it was somewhere in the middle of my new outline. I actually wrote and the words didn’t suck. The next day, I did the same thing. I wrote the scene that made the most sense to me at that moment. I started checking off post-its pretty quickly. Because I had vaguely ordered them before I started, I knew what had happened before any after each scene and could write out of order without being incredibly frustrated later.

Oddly enough, I ended up being the most efficient in my writing during this middle section with my post-it outline and random scene writing. But far better than being productive was having fun while writing! Somehow this process took a lot of the pressure off for me and let me enough telling my story instead of obsessing over it.


So if you’re like me and struggle with middles, I recommend post-its, a vague timeline, and writing exactly what you feel like writing, when you feel like it. I hope that’s helpful, and if not, I hope you at least somewhat enjoyed my rambling anyway.

Thank you again for having me. And it wouldn’t feel right to sign off without an enthusiastic O-H!


A fantastic post! This is exactly what I struggle with in my own book right now so this is super encouraging! Thanks!

LS Mooney is giving away a signed copy of one of the books, check out the giveaway post to find out how to enter. 

From our shelves to yours,

Erin & LS Mooney

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.