Have you got any of these cutie pies at home? They are those little people who live in the house and drool down the front of your shirt. Yep, first they reside in your belly-sized condo and then they take over your house. From the extra loads of dishes (thanks to all those bottles) to the endless crumb deposits (I'm buying a robot vacuum cleaner--I swear) to the bundles and bundles of laundry loads (need I say more?)--these little dudes change your life forever.
They also change your body! If you've had one recently or even if your little one is not so little anymore--you still know what I mean. And while we may never get our hour glass figure back or even get those hip bones to shove back into their upright and locked position--we can get our saggy middles back into shape. Yes, really.
So, this week we will cover both how to shape up your belly (your middle) and your book's middle too!
Oh, no! Is she going to make us do those dreadful crunches again?
No. Because crunches (or as we did in the "olden" days sit-ups) only target 1 area of the abdominal muscles when there are really 3 main areas that need work. The most important of which (if you're a mom) are the transversus abdominis muscles.
Ohh...but that just sounds terrible!
Don't worry, these are the same muscles you used to deliver those babies and now we have to get them back into shape. And for you historical writers, this is also what is known as the "corset muscle"!
Now, please note that we are only working one area of the abdomen today and that you really should work all 3 main areas to achieve that six-pack belly that we all write about on our buff heroes. But this lower abdominal area is one most often forgotten.
Start on the floor on hands and knees and then down with your elbows touching the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Extend your legs back as far as you can, and keep the toes on the floor.
Slowly raise your hips up and hold yourself in this 'plank position' with your back completely flat. Then lower the hips slowly down to the mat. Repeat 15-20 repetitions.
The Lying Scissors
Lie on your back on the floor with your palms on the mat under your lower back and your legs outstretched.
Exhale as you alternately raise your legs up in the air with a slight bend in them. Inhale as you lower your legs back down to the floor.
Repeat for 8-10 repetitions.
These may seem simple and they are but to see results it takes time. With abdominal muscles, slow and steady wins the race. A little bit each day is your best bet.
**Warning/Caution** As with any exercise program be sure that you are careful to prevent injury and consult your physician before attempting if you've had a prior injury or surgery to this area of the body.
Now, that was the easy part. What about fixing up the middle of this book I'm working on? Ever get those "middle of the book slumps"?
You start off with a bang. You have your exciting ending all ready to go. But it is that middle that bogs down your story and makes your manuscript a candidate for the bargain bin instead of the best seller display.
My recommendation is that you take another critical look at your book and re-evaluate each scene in those middle chapters for the right amount of internal and external conflict.
What is external conflict?
An event that the character must face during the course of the novel that becomes an obstacle. These will be battles "outside" the character.
What is internal conflict?
These are dilemmas that the character must face inside himself or herself. These are the source of a character's true emotional reactions.
I've pulled all of the following examples from the movie P.S. I Love You. All of this happens in just the first 15 minutes of the movie. Imagine how many are present throughout the entire movie.
- Small apartment
- Financial Trouble
- Holly's job unhappiness/changing jobs frequently
- Gerry's new business venture/taking out a risky business loan
- Parental conflict/Holly's mom
- The baby battle (when to start a family)
- Gerry wants to “live in the moment”
- Holly is a practical planner to the point of being obsessive
- Her fear of abandonment causes her to pick a fight
- She's reliving the loss of her father
- He's trying to prove he's not her father
- The baby battle (when to start a family)
So, if you feel your book needs a boost midway through the journey. Ask yourself this question...
Do you maintain the conflict throughout your novel?
If your characters don't have both internal and external issues as the driving forces between them and every action they take (or consider taking) in every scene then your story will fizzle out about mid-book. And even if it picks the momentum back up and ends beautifully--you may have lost some readers along the way. Just something to consider.
Thanks for joining me for Week #2 of the Book & Body Boot Camp!
Until next week, I remain...