Just like that famous saying, ‘always darkest before the dawn’ so is the Black Moment. The time in a story when all hope is gone. The couple has broken up, the killer got away, or the thing you hoped and dreamed for is now impossibly out of your reach. These are the times that try men’s souls or in the case of romance writers, build characters.
It is easy to do great things when things are going along swimmingly, but what about when things aren’t going along so smoothly. In Tempting Adam my heroine is accused of embezzlement, loses her job, and knows the hero will never forgive the lies she told. Does she cry and wallow in Ben & Jerry’s? Okay, for a short time she does just that. But after that, she does what all good heroes and heroines do after the Black Moment; she makes a plan to win it all back.
Making the plan, deciding how to put it into action, the steps needed. These are all the things that lead out of the Black Moment and show your hero/heroine in action. Taking charge of their lives. Just like after the death of Obi-wan, Luke wallows until he is needed to save the ship from the bad guys with lasers and weapons. He steps up and does what is needed even though he is in mourning. A true hero in the making.
The Blacker the Moment, the Greater the Payoff. Torment your characters. Drag them through the muck. They will thank you later, and so will your readers.
Jill James, romance writer