Getting Over the Middle Hurdle, a Guest Post by C J Carver, author of Tell Me A Lie


I’m delighted to be helping to celebrate Tell Me A Lie by C J Carver. Tell Me A Lie was published by Bonnier Zaffere on 12th January 2017 and is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.

As an aspiring writer myself, I’m thrilled to be hosting a guest post today from C J Carver all about getting past that difficult middle phase of writing a novel.

Tell Me A Lie


How do you protect your family when you can’t remember who’s hunting them? A gripping international thriller, perfect for fans of Lee Child and Mason Cross

A family in England is massacred, the father left holding the shotgun.

PC Lucy Davies is convinced he’s innocent

A sleeper agent in Moscow requests an urgent meeting with Dan Forrester, referencing their shared past.

His amnesia means he has no idea who he can trust.

An aging oligarch in Siberia gathers his henchmen to discuss an English accountant.

It’s Dan’s wife

From acclaimed and award-winning author CJ Carver, this is the next gripping international thriller in her brilliant Dan Forrester series.

Getting over the Middle Hurdle.  Writers who give up most often do so in the middle of the book.  Tips on how to keep galloping to the end.

A Guest Post by C. J Carver

I have a moment writing each book that I hate.  Absolutely HATE.  It’s when I hit the 40,000 mark and I wonder if I’ve got enough story to keep going.

I’ve written nine full-length thrillers and it happens every time, so I don’t panic any more.  I just tell myself it’s part of the process and keep plugging away, grumbling that it’s like pulling teeth, groaning that writing is such hard work, it’s torture, mutter mumble.

Roughly 10,000 words on I’m on the downhill slope and then I panic that I have too much story!

This hiatus in the middle has to do with fear (at least for me, anyway).  Fear that the story is rubbish, that there’s nothing worth writing about, that what I’m saying will mean nothing to anyone else.  It’s a moment when I have to motivate myself to just KEEP GOING.

Don’t let insecurity beat you.  If you’re intimidated by great writing then don’t get caught up in going over pages again and again, seeking perfection.  Push on through.

It may seem impossible to finish because you’re sure you might find a better way of forging the plot, creating a difference character, twist or story.  A book can go on for ever but it could become stale and (certainly for thrillers) go out of date.

Set an artificial deadline.  I do this all the time.  I tell myself to finish the first draft by the start of my next holiday, or Easter, Christmas, my birthday.  It feels great to beat the deadline.

I find having a daily target useful at this point.  Some writers won’t stop until they’ve written 1,000 words for the day (or whatever the amount), others set themselves two-hourly targets. Put into place the best that works for you, and stick to it.  But don’t be over-ambitious or you’ll just beat yourself up.

Graham Greene apparently said 200 words a day was enough for anyone.  I find being able to keep up with one of my favourite authors very cheering!

Rest assured that at this point it doesn’t matter if the plot twist or new character is all wrong, things will become clear later.  They always do.

Don’t fall into the trap of re-writing as you go.  When I was starting out I spent hours re-reading and working on what I’d previously written but I now know there’s little point as I may cut whole chapters on the main edit.  Now I simply read through what I wrote the previous day but don’t get hung up on it.  It’s all about getting the first draft down.

Make time to write.  I know it sounds obvious, but there’s no point waiting for the Muse to strike.  The best time to write is when time is available.  I know a young mum who locked herself in the bathroom between nine and ten p.m.   She finished her novel this way.

Above all, keep writing in the knowledge you’re steadily moving forwards.  And before you know it, you’ll be writing THE END, hopefully with a big grin on your face.

About C J Carver

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C.J. Carver’s first novel Blood Junction won the CWA Debut Dagger and was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best mystery books of the year. Half-English, half New Zealand, C.J. has been a travel writer and long-distance rally driver, driving London to Saigon and London to Cape Town. Her novels have been published in the UK and the USA and translated into several languages.

You can follow C J carver on Twitter,  visit her website and find her on Facebook. There’s more with these other bloggers too:



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