The Black Moment and Resolution

The black moment is a device that’s used a lot in fiction. Not all books use it, but I think they should. It’s one of the best ways to heighten reader tension. So, what is the black moment?

Right before you resolve your novel, there should be a moment when whatever your character needs seems completely unattainable.  In a romance novel, this is where the heroine and hero seem like they’re not going to be able to make their relationship work. In a thriller, the hero might  have reached an insurmountable obstacle and seems ready to give up. In a paranormal novel, the flesh-eating zombies might have the heroine trapped with no way out, her death and subsequent consumption by the zombies seemingly inevitable.

The black moment usually happens in the chapter before the very last chapter. Then, you must have a resolution. This is where the heroine realizes she needs to learn to forgive and lets the hero into her heart. Or maybe, the heroine finds a loose pipe, bashes the zombies brains in, and makes her escape. Whatever. Just make sure that the resolution isn’t based on a happy coincidence, i.e. “And then a zombie-killing rain fell from the sky and I was saved.” While that might happen in real life (the happy coincidence, not the zombie rain), it can never EVER happen in your writing. Readers hate it and will never buy another one of your books again.


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