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Top 5 Most Important Moments of Your Story

Class 92 hauled container-freight train on the...

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In life, there are many important moments. Some, such as graduating, getting married, or having a child, are some of what many consider to be the most important.

Like life, our written works contain a few moments that are the most important. In my journey as a writer, I have found the following to be 5 of the most important moments of a story (sorted chronologically):

1. The Beginning

Uh, ya think? Not only does the beginning of your story have the job of getting the narrative train rolling down tens of thousands of words, but it is also host to the all-important hook. This is where you give your reader a reason to keep going. Will they board the story train, or not?

2. The Point of No Return

Believe it or not, this is the point where the reason for your telling the story actually begins. Everything before it has just served to “set-up” the story. It is at this juncture where the world as your protagonist knows it has changed, and he or she has a new need or quest (i.e. solving the story problem). The conductor has jumped off the train as it loses control, and our hero makes the decision to help stop it.

3. The Midpoint Shift

About halfway through your story is another shift. This is a point where it is easy to let your story sag, but you can use it to add a new element or twist to the story. It is also the point in which your protagonist will make a decision, usually to take down the story problem. The train has switched tracks, and the previous plan to stop it is ruined. The hero takes matters into his own hands.

4. Failure is Imminent

This is the lowest point for the protagonist. All of their efforts are in vein, allies have died, and the antagonist is on the brink of winning. Everything the protagonist has worked for since the story problem began is for granted. The hero has made it to the brake switch in the lead car, but it is jammed.

5. The Ending

This one is pretty much a no brainer. If this list was in order of importance, this might be listed first. Here, the protagonist is able to take all they’ve learned as the story’s progressed, and solve the story problem (usually at great risk to themselves). It is usually the icing on the cake for the reader, if you deliver an ending that justifies their spending hours reading your story. The hero climbs below the train and manually activates the train’s brakes, getting injured in the process but saving everyone on board.

For additional resources on story structure, by which this post was inspired, check out Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. For screenwriters (and authors, too), check out Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder.


Ready for Launch

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” -Benjamin Franklin

You are here for a reason. Plain and simple, the fact that you are reading this means there is some reason for which you’ve arrived upon these words. You might be saying “so what” or “who cares,” and I’d be happy to tell you.

It means that we already have a connection. A small connection, yes, but a connection nonetheless. Whether you’re a fellow writer, reader, or somewhere in between, it means that we have the chance to form a community.

And since we’re likely meeting for the first time, it only makes sense to tell you a little about myself. I’ve been an avid writer and reader since I can remember. I wrote my first slew of stories in 3rd grade, taking to the page with childish excitement when I found the power that one could wield with a pencil.

Yes, the stories were complete junk, but ignorance is bliss.

Using my wide ruled paper, I sat down with the goal of writing 20 pages for each story. In mymind, I knew I didn’t have enough content to generate 20 pages of story. And as a 3rd grader, I had no idea what plotting or outlining was (no one told me!).

But I sat down with my paper and I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote until I reached that 20 page mark. And let me tell you, that was good feeling! Junk? Nonsense! To me it was a masterpiece. Sure, it contained probably 50 times more adverbs than it should have, but there it was.

20 pages.

You’re reading this now, almost two decades later, because of those 20 pages. It was the springboard into the creative literary pond for me, one that I’ve been swimming around in since. And now our paths have crossed. We are in that pond together, as readers and writers.

It is my hope to share experiences, information, and resources with you as we kick-off our new community. If you are a writer, I hope to network and share with you in the writing process, from the twinkle of an idea to the finished product. As a reader, we will discuss our latest reads, new and trending works, and resources available to readers.

I encourage comments and feedback from you, as I hope to make this a place for discussion and networking. I just ask that you respect each other’s opinions, have an open mind, and refrain from cursing or using derogatory language.

I am looking forward to forming a community with you as we make this swim together, regardless of what stage you are in your swim. Which begs the question:

Where are you in your journey as a reader or writer?

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