As the final of our January guest blog posts, I'd like to introduce Teresa Frohock. Teresa is a fellow OWW critter and the author of some deliciously creepy horror, and she also runs a very informative and helpful blog for aspiring writers. I'm happy to leave you in her capable hands as she talks about the "Quiet Moment".
When writing fantasy or horror, I think we often focus too heavily on the action and adventure aspects of the story to the point of cheating ourselves and our readers of a very special moment. It's when the protagonist experiences the psychic change that carries him or her through the story's climax. This turning point is as pivotal as the inciting incident that sets the story in motion, and handled well, gives the reader a logical reason for the protagonist's actions as the story is propelled toward the climax.
The quiet moment of your novel is where your protagonist stands in the eye of the hurricane and makes a decision that will affect him, and those around him, for the rest of his life. All action stops in a freeze frame as you enter your protagonist's mind and show the reader a reflection of his thoughts and your theme.
Here you must use the lightest of touches, the simplest prose, and the fewest words to convey what can sometimes be a complex emotional choice. Too much, and you're beating your reader over the head, too little, and your protagonist's actions won't make sense in the end.
Since I use the three act story structure, I like to place the quiet moment between the second and third acts of my story. This is the portion of the tale where my protagonist has been brought to his knees by the events around him; things could not possibly become worse.
All the pain, all the grief my protagonist has suffered coalesces until he has no choice but to change or die. I want him to reach inside himself and draw from an inner strength he either didn't know he had or forgotten he possessed. This is the point where my protagonist begins their emotional journey back into the light. Sometimes it's a sentence, a paragraph, or even a brief scene, but the character dictates the moment.
I love reading and writing the quiet moment in a novel. What about you? Does your novel contain a quiet moment? How do you handle the pivotal moment of your protagonist's change in your novel?