Are second halves of novels better?

As I finish up my due diligence with my fourth and soon (with 3 months) to be released novel, I came across a strange realization: the writing in the second half of my novel is better.

I’m doing a final, thorough read-through and I noticed a strange difference in attitude between my perception of each half of the novel. While I was reading the first half, I found myself cringing at times, thinking how the language was plodding, confining, and at times rather dull. I did my best to pick up the pace and improve it as I went along.

But over the last couple of days, as I have been reading the second half, I find myself enjoying my writing much better. I find myself thinking what a clever little sentence that is or how smooth-flowing it feels. The language seems perkier, the descriptions more vivid, and the characters more exciting. I found myself reading more and more at each sitting, wanting to know what was going to happen even though it wasn’t going to be a surprise.

So the question remains: is the first half of my novel not written as well as the second half? Or might there be a different explanation.

I have to go with the latter. There must be a different reason why my perception is so off and it might be as simple as this: second halves of novels are always better than first halves. (and if they aren’t, you have a serious problem on your hands)

I’ve read reviews of books which stated that the first few chapters of a novel were gripping only to fizzle out in the end. This is often attributed to an author putting in an inordinate amount of time on the beginning as he or she tries to hook in the reader into purchasing it. This obviously is a tragic mistake that authors need to avoid. While gripping opening passages are important, what’s more important is seeing the novel through to the end, and making the ending unforgettable. Who cares if they forget the beginning, just make sure they want to read to the end.

Great books have great endings for a variety of simple reasons.

The characters are more developed by the end. The reader has grown with the character and has become more attached, thus heightening the impact of the story.

The storyline is working towards its climax. It’s always more exciting when the twists and turns of a plot are revealed and the readers are left breathless to find out what is about to happen.

Authors have much more to play with and much more meat to hang their words upon towards the end of the novel.

I hope my analysis is correct and the first half of my novel is just as well written as the second half. But if I’m wrong, hang in there. At least the ending is good.

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