Finding Those Wondrous Story Moments
Recently, while working on revisions for Frozen Notes, my next release in the Amazing Grace series, I came across a moment that I had been searching for from the time I started to write the story. The heroine has a pretty valid reason for not trusting the hero. At first, I’d made her too compliant and forgiving of him. Then I got to thinking that if he’d done that to me, I’d probably never speak to him again, let alone let him back into my life. That provided a lot of fodder for internal and external conflict. Still, her back story (brought into the present instead of stopping the story and slamming the reader into the past) told me there was some deeper internal conflict that caused her to make some horrendous mistakes that bring her to the disastrous story’s opening–as in a heart-wrenching moment and not that the story opens poorly.
Still, something was missing. The heroine’s brother is a preacher, but I sensed that she had no relationship with the Lord. I’ve worked hard at keeping the spiritual journey on the edge of the story, letting it fold in without preaching or offering a sermon. With a pastor as a secondary character, that would be an easy trap to fall into. In revision, I kept asking the character to show me why she distanced herself from God, just a hint of it so we could show it to the reader.
I don’t think the heroine understood her reasoning until the moment when she saw it mirrored for her in the acceptance and other actions of a pretty important secondary character (hint: he’s the only character who has been in all four books in the series). There we were, the heroine and I, standing in the middle of this scene, and in my imagination, I saw her turn to me with wide eyes that matched my own. We’d found the reason. As I thought over the story line, I realized that the truth resonated throughout the novel without one need to scream it or preach it to the reader. That moment was all we needed to show.
I call these times wondrous moments. I believe they might even happen to those who outline their novels because, really, do our characters ever walk a straight outline? If yours do, I’m glad I’m me and not you. I like the little surprises they throw at me, so long as they don’t take me off on a rabbit trail that has nothing to do with building the plot or subplots.
For me, those times in the story always come when I plant the question into my noggin, and I continue to go forward. The characters are inside my imagination, and my imagination is in my noggin. As they move around inside what’s left of my brain, they produce the answers, either purposely or, as I just noted, quite by delightful accident.
So, how do you find those wondrous moments in your story?
Fay Lamb writes emotionally charged stories that remind the reader that God is always in the details. Three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, are available: Stalking Willow, Better than Revenge, and Everybody’s Broken. Hope is the third book in The Ties that Bind Series, which also includes Charisse and Libby. Fay’s adventurous spirit has also taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.
Future releases from Fay will be: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series, and Delilah, Book 4 from The Ties that Bind.
Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook and on Goodreads. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor.