What I’m Reading 11th March


Welcome to another round of Susan loves her work read, and slightly dodgy things in her romance reads.

[FYI: The book links are free from affiliate codes.]

The Work Read

I finished reading Inciting Incident yesterday, and I’m so glad I finally made time to read through it. It is an invaluable book as a refresher, but some of the golden nuggets of new information make this a permanent fixture in my writer’s toolbox.

The fact that I’m going straight into the next book in H. R. D’Costa’s Story Structure Essentials series should come as absolutely no surprise.

Midpoint Magic shares what HRD calls the Midpoint Fulcrum. This fulcrum (there are eight basic ones) swings the plot in a new direction. A great example is in romance novels and buddy cop movies. These two story types share the same story beats.

The stories start with two ill-matched people forced together in Act One. Neither of the duo like the other one too much. Both their approaches to the story problem drives the other mad. So mad that one, or both, of them, actively tries to get out of being stuck with the other. But, something happens that glues them together at the end of Act One.

Throughout Act Two A, they start to see glimpses of something they like in each other, but they’re still butting heads until the midpoint.

In screenwriting, this is called “sex at sixty.” And I don’t mean the age. A feature-length script is around 120 pages long. The midpoint lands around page 60–hence the moniker. The “sex at sixty” tends to be used for romance movies, but in buddy cop movies, it just means that there is a more profound connection made. After this bonding fulcrum, the story takes on a new dimension coloured by it.

The easy way to look at the above fulcrum is that, before the midpoint, two separate entities are forced to work together, each doing things their way. After the fulcrum, it’s a team working together, maybe not in harmony, but they’re doing things in a new, joint way.

These midpoint fulcrums can stand alone, as above, or combine with the others in the book.

The above information is what I learned from HRD’s course. I can’t wait to learn more about this pivotal structural turning point from her book.

Midpoint Magic on Kindle (£6.99)

Midpoint Magic on Kobo (£6.99)

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The Fun Read

I’ve not had much time to read Black Ice this last week, but 16% in and it’s still as much fun to read as it was the first time.

I love romantic suspense stories where one or both of the main characters starts the story thinking that they might have to kill the other–for professional reasons.

The double-entendres that situation brings about just makes me gleefully happy. I mean, they’re not going to go through with it. It’s a romance novel, after all. But the fun is in them navigating through “should I kill them” all the way to “shut up, I love you.”

Hmm. I wonder what that says about me? Screw it; I don’t care!

Black Ice on Kobo (£3.49 on Kobo)

Black Ice on Kindle (£2.99 on Kindle)

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What’s your favourite thing to see in a story? You know, the stuff that gives you digital papercuts from blasting through the pages.

I’d love to hear your reading plans for the next week…

Until next time, take care, and happy reading!


9 responses to “What I’m Reading 11th March”

  1. Thank you for elaborating a bit on the Midpoint Fulcrum, Susan. Very interesting to better see the structural set up behind a story.

    As to your question about what I like to see in a story, I believe it is good character studies as well as various lives / action strands being intrduced, finally woven together (in more or less surprising ways) and culminating in a grand ending.
    (Terry Pratchett was a master with that kind of story-telling, in my humble opinion.)

    • No problem, I love sharing information on story structure. I used to struggle with it because I need examples to understand things, so I like to use examples for others like me to quickly grasp new ideas.

      Oh, I agree with your list of story likes. Though, I have to confess to never having read any of Terry Pratchett stories. 😬

      • Those examples are so helpful! 💖
        And they make me want to read up about it.

        If you like those traits in a story, a trip to the Discworld might be worth a shot … “Mort” was my gateway drug. (And the audio books are usually very good, too.) On the other hand, this kind of fantasy novel might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

      • HRD’s books are filled with examples.
        I must admit, I’m not the biggest fantasy fan. I love vampires and folklore stuff in TV shows/movies, but not for reading. I have no idea why 🤷‍♀️

  2. A big round of applause for Terry Pratchett! And yes, avoiding that soggy middle. I think that’s why I’ve often struggled at the 30,000 – 40,000 word point when writing. Hope I’ve avoided it.
    My reading: Violeta by Isabel Allende (an epistolary work). I spent most of yesterday reading it since a transformer exploded in town taking all of the power out from 3am-7pm. I also made a start on my new novel before my laptop battery died.

    • I’m sure you’ve avoided the soggy middle. I think it’s one of those things you feel in your gut.
      Shame about the power, and the battery going, but maybe you were meant to have some well deserved downtime to get some reading in.
      Congratulations on the start of your new novel!

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