March 26, 2009: The Black Moment

I don’t have a whole lot to say tonight — I mostly spent the day puttering around with the beloved. I took today off to get ready for the New England Chapter-RWA’s annual conference, which begins tomorrow in Framingham, MA. Attendance at the conference means silence from me tomorrow and probably Saturday.

I had plans for today — updating a file with results I track, doing laundry, figuring out the black moment for Dragonfly… I didn’t update the file, but I did manage to get the laundry done, and while I haven’t entirely figured out the black moment, I did make progress.

The black moment is that point in the story when all seems lost, the protagonist destined to fail, no way to reach the happy ending. I’ve had an intellectual understanding of the concept for ages, but I only really got it when I watched the end of The Rookie, the movie about Jim Morris, the pitcher who made his major league debut at the age of 35. There’s a point in the movie when the character Morris, played by Dennis Quaid, decides he’s had enough, he’s quitting. That’s the black moment, the moment when all is lost. (Before he can quit, though, an interview he had done with ABC News is broadcast, and he’s reminded of his own dreams.)

The end of Battlestar Galactica deepened that understanding. I would say that most of the episodes of the last half of the 4th season were the series’ black moment, the stretch when it seemed as if it was never going to get any better, when it seemed distinctly possible to me that it was actually going to get worse

I was in despair, to be candid. It was a black moment for me, too, and I’m starting to think that was key. I think I need to understand things in my bones to be able to use them, and now it feels as if I get the black moment in my very marrow. I know how far I need to go to bring my story to that moment of blackness and despair, before turning it towards the light. I just need to figure out how to get there.

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