Saturday, June 23, 2012

Story Structure -- Darkest Moment

Hi folks,  if you heard me talk at the Writer's League of Texas conference and want to read my series on writing a synopsis, follow this link.  There are several in the series so after reading the post, page down to "Newer Post" and it will lead you to the next in the synopsis series. Now on with business, I'm continuing my series about the five essential turning points in novels. This week I'm covering the darkest moment that I call Gethsemane.  This is the moment after your character has tried his best to achieve his purpose and nothing has worked. He is now being called to do the one impossible thing that no one can endure. He's left alone and doesn't really know where he is going to find the strength to face this one last terrible challenge. This challenge will seperate him from everything he loves.  He wrestles with his decision and is in great distress. Finally he sees he has only one true choice and accepts it. Then his best friend betrays him  to his enemies who will do their worst. 

Yes, stories need this moment. I don't think that you can skip it.  It usually comes right before the climax of the book. It's generally a scene or two long.  No more.  Some climaxes last one chapter others go on for multiple chapters, hence the placement of darkest moment will vary. The resolution or continuation of subplots can also shift around the darkest moment position some. I think that the most important piece of this moment is that internal and external suffering of your protaganist meet here.  Weakness is revealed and released.  I like to use a boxing match analogy for this moment too. The fight has gone for multiple rounds. The underdog has been pummeled by the champ.  The underdog is losing the fight, not just physically but mentally, and at this moment, he remembers all the training, the wise stuff he's heard from his mentors, the things he's overcome to get here and he rallies.

Hope this helps you define your structure.  Will be back with the last in the series next week.   Seize the day!

Here is this week's doodle: "Jubilee, baby."

Here is another quote for your pocket.:

May you live all the days of your life. Jonathan Swift


Vijaya said...

Oh, man, this is what I love in a good book -- to see how the MC rallies, what he truly values. Great post.

MollyMom103 said...

Hi, Vijaya! Ooh, I like that word values. It makes me think this is the refining moment when all the dross is burned away.

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This guy is a story structure nut,