Recently, I met with a client and his graphic designer for a twofold purpose—to decide a title for my client's book and to brainstorm images for the book cover. We were discussing ideas and not getting very far when the artist asked, “What was the turning point in your story? When did you know that things would never be the same again?”
Immediately, my client’s eyes brightened and he recounted a very specific moment when he knew that he knew that he knew that he knew that he had victory over the trial he’d been going through. This was the pivotal moment in his book, the turning point, the climax.
Knowing the pivotal point in anything you write can be beneficial for many reasons.
1. It can help illustrators decide the associated artwork.
2. It can produce an awesome title for your work.
3. It’s a great hook for the reader if you start in the heart of the action and proceed from there. A story doesn’t have to be told from beginning to end and, in many cases, it shouldn’t be told that way.
4. It serves as a compass for both fiction and non-fiction. It’s the place where you’re ultimately heading in your writing and it’s the place from which the lesson or take-away value is gleaned.
5. It adds graphic detail. When my client discerned the pivotal point in his book, he no longer struggled with telling instead of showing. Instantly, he described a scene that was graphic and full of detail. His emotions were tied to that moment and it showed up in the way he expressed himself.
6. It answers the question, “Why? Why am I writing this piece anyway?” That answer often yields a greater passion for the project.
If you’re stuck, think about the pivotal point, the defining moment in your piece. Let it be a guide to how you proceed with everything else.
March 28, 2011
Labels: writing lessons