22 August 2009

Plot Question & Answer; Meaning of the Crisis

(NOTE: I often use this forum -- the Plot Whisperer -- to answer questions I receive from writers I've worked with. I know each writer's entire story and, since I do not believe in divulging writers' plots, I change the writer's question about her own specific story to the universal.

At the Crisis point [between the protagonist and her father]... does she need to confront him any further at that point? Later in the Climax, [she shows -- in action -- the transformative power of her new-found wisdom]. MF

To confront her father at the Crisis, the dark night of the soul, the breakdown, the death of her innocence, she would be acting from her old personality, who she has always been. 

Rarely does the transformation come simultaneously in the same scene as the Crisis (if any of you have an example of this, please share...) 

The Crisis leads to transformation. 

Example: Rarely in real life do we change immediately upon being hit by a Crisis. Often, for us to change and transform our deeply entrenched habits, we need more than one Crisis -- the second being worse than the first. 

The first near-death experience affects you deeply and has the power to bring you to consciousness. Then, before you know it, you're "over it" and revert back to your old ways = your ego takes back its power over you and you descend back into unconscious behaviors and the cycle begins again.

Second near-death experience makes a deeper impression = true change begins.. sometimes. 

Sometimes, at this point, consciousness prevails over ego and transformation begins. 

Sometimes, we revert back to our old selves and the cycle starts again.

This is also true in stories.

MF, your protagonist does not need more than one wake-up call. She is young and smart and gets it. 

From the "hit" she gets at the Crisis, her transformation happens over several scenes (the End -- 1/4). Dissolving old habits and creating new, healthier ones takes practice. Often the new behavior shows itself only intermittently at first. True mastery comes over time and shows itself in all its glory at the Climax.

In other words, your protagonist is not ready to respond in a transformed way at the Crisis -- that is reserved for the Climax -- of which, yours is perfect.