Successful stories have a specific structure, whether in fiction or memoir. One example is that the midpoint represents a point of no return, a change that creates a “before” and “after.”
James Scott Bell, in his excellent Write Your Novel from the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between (a bargain at just $3.99 for the Kindle version), calls this the “look in the mirror” moment.
This is when the character “takes stock of where he is” and either “wonders what kind of person he is” and “how he will be different” if he continues, or “looks at himself and considers the odds against him,” realizing that “the forces seem so vast that there is virtually no way to go on and not face certain death,” whether physical, professional, or psychological. Bell notes that these two responses are not mutually exclusive.
Every client I have worked with, whether young or old, has had such a moment:
You might have to dig deep into areas you’d rather avoid, but it’s worth it. Don’t shortchange your readers. The world deserves to get to know the authentic you—what you saw when you looked in the mirror.
--Ann Kellett, Ph.D.
Ann Kellett Editing