Thursday, November 09, 2006

Changing Moments

I forgot my sister’s birthday. Totally. I remember thinking last month that her birthday was coming up soon. Then last night, while walking the dog, I stopped dead in my tracks and thought, oh my God, Cathy’s birthday was five days ago. I hadn’t sent a card. No email. No present. Not even a call. Nothing. Nada. I was shocked I’d let it slip.

Why, you wonder, am I mentioning this in my blog instead of whipping myself like the albino in DaVinci Code? Because this kind of experience is relevant to the protagonist in your book.

Every main character at some point in the book has a defining moment. The moment when things change. He makes the decision to quit resisting and embark on the journey. She stands up and takes responsibility. He decides to get involved. She leaves on a quest. He must lower his defenses and accept help. She faces the truth.

The catalyst for change can be something huge. A friend dies. A robber comes into the bank. She is attacked. He sees the consequences of his actions. Terrorists attack. A father has a heart attack. The plane crashes. Her reality dissolves when she finds her spouse cheating.

On the other hand, the catalyst can seem small at first glance, but would be huge for the character. The breaking of a treasured vase. A hurtful comment by someone admired. A speeding ticket. A found letter. A picture in the paper.

A catalyst can also be something completely out of character. A forgotten birthday.

And so begins the hero’s journey.

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