The midpoint is the second major plot point or turning point in a novel. It happens right in the middle of the story and helps to refresh and rejuvenate the plot. In this video I explain the purpose behind the midpoint and how it might play out within your story.
- The midpoint occurs at the 50% mark.
- It changes the context of the story by revealing information about the antagonistic force. In other words, the reader learns something that has been affecting the novel all along without the reader’s awareness (the antagonist’s plan or identity, a major secret of the protagonist’s, etc.).
- The midpoint refreshes the story by forcing the protagonist to move in a new direction or solve a new problem. Alternatively, it changes the reader’s perception of the protagonist’s actions.
- The midpoint marks the protagonist’s transition from reactive to proactive. In the first half of the book the protagonist is reacting to the antagonistic force and trying to avoid harm, but after the midpoint the protagonist moves towards defeating the antagonistic force.
Questions to Ask About Your Novel
1. Is there a major or subtle reveal at the midpoint that changes the context of what came before?
This may be a reveal about the protagonist (especially in literary fiction). For example, the reader may learn for the first time that the protagonist is an unreliable narrator or that the protagonist is pursuing a goal for a previously secret reason. More likely, the reveal at the midpoint will have something to do with the antagonist’s plan or identity, such as the character realizing for the first time what the antagonist is trying to achieve. It might also be the discovery of a vital clue.
2. Does the character become more proactive after the midpoint?
After the reveal at the midpoint of the novel, the protagonist should move towards defeating the antagonistic force in a way that is more active than was previously possible. For example, a character who discovers the identity of the antagonist can now move towards defeating him/her while previously that was impossible because the protagonist didn’t know the antagonist.
If you have any questions about writing the midpoint, please post it in the comments below.
Comment Question: Do you find you omit the midpoint in your writing? Can you think of any novels or films with interesting midpoint reveals?
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