Friday, July 10, 2009

That Perfect Moment

Have you ever had that perfect moment? Where everything lines up and it feels just right...and no I don't mean during sex. lol. I mean in the ebb and flow of life.

One of the biggest examples I have is the night I got engaged. Our "date" was a Valentine's Day do-over and following the classic movie and dinner combo we took a stroll through Target. Yes, the department store. I was walking down the center aisle thinking what a wonderful time we'd had and telling myself to stop and enjoy the moment. I reflected on my years with my now fiance, and though I hadn't gotten the ring I wanted...we loved each other and that was enough for me. And what do you know? That very night, mere hours from that moment I had a ring on my finger and a wedding to plan. :0)

I also had a similar moment when I was putting together my registration info for RWA's national newsletter contest. Opting for the brightly colored CD covers and sticking on the logo-ed labels, I thought "Hmmm...I wonder if I'll win?" Heck, at the moment I thought that would be a fluke, and merely hoped I'd place. Then to my surprise, I found out The Final Draft was a finalist!

Not only have I had moments like this in my life, but I also seem to have them in my books. I know everything is supposed to be planned, but sometimes the magic just happens. It's how judges pick contest winners because of that little extra oomph you can't put your finger on.

For instance, who would think a slim Jim (a pressed meat stick wrapped in plastic) could be endearing? Now imagine that you're hundreds of miles from home, you've had all your dreams dashed by your ex and wish you had someone to commiserate with. Then your best friend shows up on your doorstep with an old favorite treat to dust you off, fire you up and get you back on track for love.

Or what about finding out that you aren't alone on a strange planet...and that your know-it-all computer really is as awesome was you imagine because without arms and legs she devises an escape plan and leaves clues like Hansel and Gretel so your true love can find you. Plus she has a wicked sense of humor and never lets you down, eventhough she's nothing but a hunk of metal, while you're a warrior woman who solves her own problems.

Imagine telling your honey you want a tattoo, and then having him say no way because it would mark you for ridicule, even death. Though you're not about to let a man tell you what to do as a woman who makes her own path, life gets in the way. Then wouldn't you know...you end up getting the real tattoo that changes your life forever and makes you one of the heroes you've been working to become.

Of course having things work out so perfectly can be cliche...to the point of having readers bored. But if you make things believable, in a way that stays true to your characters, then readers will embrace every moment. Those things that come out as if from your subconscious are what make novels organic...and keep readers turning pages. Sure you can plot out the points, create numerous stickies that show the way, but don't nix anything that strays from them. Sometimes that side jaunt can be what makes your novel stronger, unforgettable...award winning.

If you get the chance to congratulate contest winners, especially RITA or Golden Heart winners, please do. Then read their work to see that special spark you can add to your manuscript.




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