I’m going to be honest and admit that, at first, I didn’t understand the power of a novel’s Black Moment. The Black Moment merely meant something bad happened to my main characters. Nothing more, nothing less.
But when I understood the depth of the Black Moment – what it was and how to use it in a story – wow! my novels changed.
What: Black Moment
In one word: devastation. That moment where there is no turning back and no hope, when your character’s worst fears come true. The Lie feels true and things can’t get any worse. The Black Moment breaks your character’s heart — and the moment of truth they experience later heals their heart.
As writers, we’re told to wreak havoc on our characters. When you write your hero’s or heroine’s Black Moment, you let the worst possible thing happen to them. Think Luke Skywalker’s “I am you father” moment with Darth Vader. This is where their emotional wound is gaping and the Lie they believe about themselves brings them to their knees.
When you hear the term “Wound,” think romance. When you hear the term “Lie,” think faith. The hero or the heroine heals the Wound and God heals the Lie. The Wound prevents a character from developing a lasting relationship with someone else. The Lie they believe interferes with their relationship with God.
Remember: The Black Moment is a recreation of your character’s Dark Moment — that painful experience in their past that shapes who they are today and affects their relationship with others and with God. When you write the Black Moment it does not have to be the exact same thing happening to your hero or your heroine. If someone they loved drowned in the Dark Moment, you don’t have to have someone they love drowning in the Black Moment. Rather, your character experiences the same feeling of loss, or abandonment or failure.
Example: What if my heroine felt responsible for the death of her younger sister? This all goes back to her Dark Moment: When she was 12 years old, she and her family were at Destin, FL and she was supposed to watch her 6-year-old sister. They were playing in the waves, got caught in a riptide, and the lifeguard saved our heroine, but not her sister.
When I develop the heroine’s Black Moment in the novel, I need to devise an event where she is responsible for someone else – and somehow doesn’t protect them. Could it be water-related, i.e. back at the ocean? Sure. But it doesn’t have to be. I just need to recreate the emotion that she fails to protect someone she loves. I need to tap into her Wound (the loss of a loved one that affects her present-day relationships) and the Lie (she failed someone she loved, so how could God love her?)
How have you recreated the Dark Moment within your character’s Black Moment, making that event all the more powerful for your reader?
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The What and Why of Writing: Black Moment Click to Tweet