Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Alas, poor Yorick I Knew Him Well"--Shakespeare

Morning All,

Hope every one is doing well. I know the title of this post is a bit odd, but I'm using it as a lead-in:

Black moments. Conflict. Suspense. Chase. These are all important in fiction writing. It's the idea that the main character(s) have to accomplish something, overcome something to make the story move forward--be something that a reader will want to read--and maybe even read again and again.

So what stories have the best black moments? Is it the ones where you fear for the character's life? Or the moment where it looks like "all is lost"?

The black moments are something I struggle with. I don't want to get cliched about conflict. Or do the themes that have been done so often that it bores readers. So what makes something different--fresh, fascinating?

In reading Debbie Viguie's (accent on the "e" in her last name), Scarlet Moon, she took a well known (and often loved) story (Little Red Riding Hood), turned it on its ear, and flipped it so the wolf was something more than just a wolf deceiving a young girl.

In Disney's movie, Enchanted, the girl (the would-be princess), Giselle (played by Amy Adams) says that actually Red was chasing the wolf. When the little girl says "I've never heard that version before." Giselle answers, "That's because Red tells it a little differently."

In both instances, something that might have been told to the point of exhaustion is changed. The black moment is different, it's a new story. A new way to care, or not care about, the characters involved.

Either way you take it, a black moment can be subtle, or large and frightening. Or something as recognizable as heartbreak. Whatever black moment any of us have in our stories, we have to make it so that the reader cares about the outcome. Even if this means you have a Hamlet talking to a skull. (Like Shakespeare did).

Have A Tremendous Tuesday!


Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great post! I love the way you approached this topic, and your examples were perfect. Thanks, Bethany! :-)

Bethany said...


Thank YOU. :-)