I've been busy rewriting, and it's going slower than I thought, and round about page 150 I started thinking - FLABBY!
It was very frustrating, because I couldn't figure out why everything on the page just laid there. I know, that's what words do on a page, right? But it shouldn't feel like that's what they're doing. They should zoom along and sweep you away and race along, and other speedy turns of phrase.
So I went through the whole book and as I did, wrote down an outline of what happens. I was looking for stuff to cut, but I was also trying to figure out why the middle felt so floppy, flacid, full of hot gas.
Thank goodness my brain seems to work these things out on its own because I think I finally got it. I found a few scenes and lots of words to cut, but I also realized that my main character spends a large section of the middle just reacting to stuff. In the beginning and end of the book she is very driven and motivated, but in the middle? Not so much.
Not good! Protagonists must have goals - external and internal, sometimes mistaken goals, sometimes glorious goals, but goals goals goals!
I think I figured it out - the goal she needs to have in the middle. I'm still inserting it in, working it around, giving it a massage, so we'll see. But don't forget the goal, guys. Once your protag starts sitting around going "oh hey, that's cool," and "wow, I learned a lot today," it's time to reset their priorities and make them a tad more driven. A LOT more driven.