Wednesday, October 23, 2019

When All Seems Lost by Sandra Ardoin

Most of us have lived through a time in our lives when our circumstances seemed dire, our lives in turmoil. We’re at our wits end and have no idea how to proceed.

Courtesy of Pixabay
Our fictional characters should reach that point in the story when all seems to be lost and they have no hope of achieving their dreams, their goals, perhaps, even saving their lives. It’s that dark time in a character’s story when he’s tossed to the bottom of a figurative pit and the emotional world around him goes dark.

This isn’t a plot point just for dramas. Even lighthearted stories need a black moment. In fact, everything that happens previously should point to that time in the story when the character’s world, what they believed in or knew, crumbles beneath them and sends them falling into a pit of despair. It usually occurs about two-thirds to three-quarters into the book.

How can you accomplish this?

Take something of value away from your protagonist. That something of value may stem from his backstory—his wound and fear. Did an event in his past turn him into a stickler for safety? Take that sense of safety away.

In a romance, the goal for a hero is to get the girl, right? Then the black moment is when the relationship blows up in his face. It seems the chance for “happily-ever-after” is gone and he’s faced with the decision to let it go or man up and fight for his future.

In a suspense/thriller or fantasy/sci-fi, it generally comes when the villain has the upper hand and the hero, his loved ones, or the whole world appears doomed. Does he have the wherewithal and know-how to win the day?

The Black Moment, Crisis, Second Plot Point—however you term it—is emotional, not just physical. 

This isn’t the time to mollycoddle your characters.

Dig that hole deep enough that climbing to the top seems an overwhelming effort, then remind them of their strengths and give them the ability to overcome.

Remember, when your characters are in that pit, there’s no way to go but toward the surface, which leads to the climax---the scene or scenes of fighting back. Then, with whatever ending you've chosen, your readers will close the book and consider they've had a satisfying read.

Can you easily pick out the black moment in a novel? Briefly share a black moment in one of your stories.

The Black Moment, Crisis, Second Plot Point—however you term it—is emotional, not just physical, and essential for a satisfying read. via @SandraArdoin #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting


As an author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

Visit her at Connect with her on BookBub, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Subscribe to the Love and Faith in Fiction newsletter and keep up with what’s new, discover what’s upcoming, and learn of specials.

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