Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More about the dark moment--

Murph, in a really good comment-- the whole comment thread is helpful, so hie thee to it!-- asks if the decision/choice made in the dark moment is a "right or wrong" choice--

Well, right, wrong, I don't want to be judgmental. :) But for this person to resolve the internal issue (fear of whatever, lack of trust, etc), he/she probably needs to choose some course or action which forces the overcoming of that. If he can't trust, he chooses to trust. If she can't commit, she chooses to commit.

The clever part is... when this is exactly what's needed to give the power to resolve the external problem in the climax-- when trusting brings a new ally, say.

Let's think about possible dark moment choices that are "wrong" in the sense that they do violate some common morality. I'm thinking of the woman who is utterly dedicated to honesty, always tells the truth, no matter what the cost-- and then, in the dark moment, decides she had to lie to save someone or protect something important.

p.s. If you're new to this blog, please note that the comments on posts are often more interesting than the posts themselves. :) So if a post subject interests you, always check the comments! The commenters often provide great insight and sharp examples.


Jordan McCollum said...

Your example reminds me of Heart of Darkness, though that's really the conclusion and not the dark moment.

I like your example, but I think I tend to write dark moments where characters choose to do the right thing, but it's still wrong for whatever reason. In one of my MSs, the hero finally tells the truth at the dark moment (this is the priest spy from way back when—he confronts the killer, gets the confession, then realizes the heroine heard the whole thing). He had lots of opportunities to tell her the truth, and he came close, but he never did—and once she knows the truth, she's furious that he could torment her pointlessly.

I was actually just studying your old articles on the internal journey and Emotional turning points for help in my blog miniseries on character arcs, and it seems that they relate really well to this, too.

Edittorrent said...

The Sons of Anarchy example I gave above has her doing that-- telling the truth though it hurts. But what I find interesting... it's "wrong" by her value system. Hmm. Should post about that!

It's right by OUR value system (telling the truth).

Livia Blackburne said...

I'm not contributing any brilliant insight here, but just wanted to say it's great that you're giving a shoutout to your commenters. I think you're being too modest, but I totally identify with the "my commenters are awesome" feeling. I often feel like the commenters on my blog put me to shame :-) But great comment discussion is the most rewarding part of blogging, I think...

Edittorrent said...

Livia, yes, I think the commenters say such insightful things! We need to take credit for having great commenters. :)

Riley Murphy said...

Hi Jordan! Is that the villain Murphy, at work again?:)

Well, being the romance junkie that I am, I would have to say - the heroine choosing to sacrifice her virtue for a need for someone/something else at the expense of something she's always wanted - but in the dark moment the heroine discovers that she's given a choice - a reprieve. She can have what she wants without the sacrifice...but by this point have her needs changed and is it that simple?

Example: Okay, say she's agreed to give her brother's enemy her innocense in exchange for him not taking her siblings inheritance away - even though she knows this will ruin any future she has of landing a husband (the one and only thing she’s desired since she was a child). The enemy agrees, but he wants to get to know her first. During this time she learns things about the man her brother hates - and she learns things about herself, too. By the time they actual get to consummating the exchange the enemy respects her too much to make her go through with it. He graciously stops himself in the heat of the moment (now, that's some good fiction there, eh?:D) and tells her she doesn't have to do this. He won't press the issue of her brother's inheritance either, and she's free to go if she wants to. But she doesn't. She’s honest enough to admit to herself in that moment that being with him is what SHE wants - not for an exchange or payment of any kind - she just wants him. So, now instead of her marriageability being in jeopardy because of a sacrifice - it's in jeopardy solely because of her own need and desire. And too, the man she's always regarded as the enemy is now redeemed in her eyes. In fact it's her selfish, stupid brother who's going to be called on the carpet for getting him and her into this mess to begin with! But, um, not until after she has her fun.;)


Unknown said...


What about a MC lying about being pregnant and the dark moment she has to reveal that she's not. She's lied to trick the hero into marriage and decides, after personal growth to tell him the truth before the wedding. The risk is losing him.

Hi Murphy! No names in your example? I miss old Rudely Studwell.:(

Edittorrent said...

Babs, Tess of the D'Urbervilles has a scene like that, where the heroine gives the guy (no hero, big jerk) a letter that explains her checkered past, and she thinks he's read it and loves her anyway, and in fact, he never read it. And when he finds out later, bad news. It's a tragedy, so it doesn't work out well.

But she did try. :(