Yesterday, I said I would use some Big Events from popular books and movies…
I changed my mind. I think it might be easier to explain if I applied the Big Event to my own work. That way we can see if I did it correctly.
So, just to summarize…the Big Event must be: Believable, Compelling, Immediate, Terrifying.
I’m going to use examples from my current suspense series…The Missions Of Mercy Series …
An American boy and a warlord’s engaged daughter have disappeared-together-in an Eastern European border country. Only one man can find them in time to prevent an international meltdown-Chet Stryker. But Chet is taken aback when he realizes the boy is the nephew of Mae Lund, Chet’s former flame. When Mae insists on rescuing her relative herself, Chet knows he has to protect her from the enemy on their trail. Yet can he protect himself from falling for Mae again?
The Big Event:
A warlord is out to find and kill Chet, and he’ll do it by taking her nephew hostage. (compelling) In the middle of Act 2, Chet and Mae discover that her nephew has mistakenly walked right into the warlord’s sights, and they must get to the boy before the warlord does. (immediate) To make the fact the Warlord wants Chet believable, I have someone from the past recognize him, and remind him that the warlord has never forgotten him, and I add in the memory of this thug killing someone Chet loved. To make it terrifying, I have the man burn down a humanitarian aid shelter and wound one of the American missionaries. We know he means business.
Brody “Wick” Wickham is a former Green Beret turned security agent-with a 100 percent mission success rate. No way is his new assignment changing that. Even if it’s protecting a diva American rock star while she’s on tour in Europe. Except Veronica “Vonya” Wagner isn’t just a beautiful celebrity used to having her way-she’s the daughter of a U.S. Senator. And she’s hiding a dangerous secret. When Wick discovers what’s at stake, how far over the line will he go to keep them both alive?
The Big Event:
Someone is out to kill Vonya, and they are getting closer with each step on her tour. (immediate & compelling). To add believability and terror, a contact of Vonya’s is shot right in front of her.
The only way to get security agent Luke Dekker to a wedding? An undercover mission as groomsman. He’ll bust the groom, a drug cartel heir, before anyone can say “I do.” Then Luke can escape all this love and romance nonsense-and the too pretty bridesmaid/agent assigned as his “fiancée” for the weekend. Until Luke discovers that sweet, vulnerable Scarlett Hanson isn’t his contact. Isn’t an agent.
Isn’t trained for the high-stakes mission now trapping them both. And worse, Luke’s falling for her-which is not part of the assignment.
The Big Event:
On the wedding day, a drug lord attending the wedding and all his cohorts will be apprehended…if he doesn’t get wind of the sting and kill the undercover operatives first. To make it believable, I built into the backstory the death of a friend of one of the characters at the hands of this drug lord. The immediacy is the impending hour of the sting. To create terror, I have the villain increasingly suspect someone has betrayed them…and leave clues that he knows it’s the hero. To make it compelling, I have the villain’s son befriend the heroine…and prevent her from escaping.
(Shameless promotion alert: By the way, all these stories are available now at your local bookstore…or Amazon.)
I hope this helps your crafting of your Big Event! Next week we’ll summarize all we’ve talked about to date…and then throw in a couple weeks of romance!
See you then!