Black Moments

I’m working on a synopsis for my next project, a speculative piece of fiction. I’ve taken Camy Tang’s class on the Synopsis, so I know what to do, yet I am struggling with finding the black moment. You know, the main conflict that throws the main character under the bus. The conflict that takes the hero or heroine to the crossroads where they question, ponder and come to a new knowledge about themselves and their situation.

So why am I struggling? I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard to be mean to my characters. In my last book my heroine was beaten (she was dressed as a boy and well, it’s medieval times and people brawled back then!) so I suppose I don’t really have trouble being mean. But in the contemporary world, you don’t always have the physical brutality of earlier eras. You have the politically correct, sanitized world of the 21st century.

Since it’s speculative, there is a bit of magic in it (not witches or anything like that), so with that thrown in, it gives a different spin on things for me and it is difficult to spin a plot that weaves the spiritual thread in with the “magical” element. I’m mulling things over and trying out different catastrophic plot points to see what works and what doesn’t. So far the “doesn’t” is winning out over the “does”, but I’ll keep trying.

BECAUSE…I am ready to start a new story. This is the week…I feel it. And if it doesn’t come to me by the weekend, I’m starting anyway.

Who else has trouble with conflict in their story? Any black moment surprises?

13 responses to “Black Moments”

  1. I don't have problem thinking up conflict, i have a problem deciding which conflict should stay and which needs to go cause it's just too much!

    all the best with that new story!


  2. I have the BEST resource for you. Check this out – read all the late night chats. They helped me so much in coming up with my story's black moment.


  3. I don't think I've ever had a black, black moment in one of my stories until this last one I just finished. After I was done, I was like, OH, so that's a black moment. Cool.


  4. Tricia Goyer once taught a class I took, and she said to write as if the black moment was the end of the story. The worst disaster ever, and that was it. Then figure out how to get your characters out of the trouble.


  5. I know how you feel Sherrinda. I'm struggling with that as I plot my new story. I had a black moment, then decided unless I could give it a good twist, it would probably be too cliche. So I changed my mind, but now I'm trying to decide if my black moment isn't black enough. But I want to start this story soon!


  6. And then you have to wonder is the moment black enough, does it go back to the worst moment in their past that they never want to relive again. Does it mirror their worst fear? So many variables! I think I did fine with the black moment on my current WIP, but only time… and editing… will tell. You'll find it. I know you will. 🙂


  7. Is this the black moment for the story you haven't yet started writing that you're spending all this time trying to figure out?


    Just sit down and start writing. Once you get into your story and start losing yourselves in the lives of your characters, they'll show you what the black moment is supposed to be when you get there. I'll tell you what I tell everyone in my local group: overthinking and overpreparing isn't writing; planning isn't writing; outlining isn't writing; making character charts isn't writing; stressing yourself out about having to know every single detail of your story BEFORE you write it isn't writing. WRITING is writing.

    Just write!


  8. I think getting stuck in the office that only contains the red couch with one of the lawyers would be a black moment for me. He asks her to stay late to go over some extra work, then he traps her…


  9. Hmmmm…I think I have the opposite problem. Maybe too many black moments, especially in the beginning.


  10. Hi Sherrinda –

    As a SOTP writer, I don't worry about piecing my story together like a patchwork quilt. I have a general direction, and let the characters do their thing.

    Susan 🙂


  11. I'm with Tabitha~ I think sometimes I go overboad with the conflict!

    I hope you find the clear direction you need…and soon:)


  12. I find I am always surprised. I don't plot ahead of time (panster here). I have a rough idea of beginning, middle and end, but no idea how one leads to the other. So, I am always surprised with what happens. I don't think I would be good at planning ahead because the few times I've tried, I was wrong.


  13. My heroine in the first book seems to have lots of conflict, but her main conflict is confidence in herself and lack of faith in her marriage. But I'm so horrible with synopsis writing. I've avoided it. But now, it's coming down to needing a good, ol' synopsis education.


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