The Black Moment: making room for the light

Posted by: Bridgett.

What makes a great story?

What causes the most lasting growth in our lives?

One answer fits both questions.

Some stories affect our emotions so strongly they stay with us for decades.  Some life events change us so profoundly, we emerge almost as different people.

It may be surprising to realize the key to many personal triumphs, and to those characters who make us want to raise a fist in shared celebration, is steeped in fathomless darkness.

The secret to both is what we call in fiction writing “the black moment.”

The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come.  At the darkest moment comes the light.  ~Joseph Campbell

Photo credit: Monomyth, Wikipedia

Photo credit: Monomyth, Wikipedia

Campbell’s work on the hero’s journey has influenced story structure and films around the world. He defines the black moment as that point in the story when the hero faces the loss of everything that matters most or when he must embrace the one thing he has fought hardest against.

It is only through this experience that a character can let go of those things which hold him/her back from doing what is necessary to reach the ultimate goal. This moment forces change or acceptance of a difficult truth.

The darker the black moment, the more intense the glow of the character’s triumph.

The same is often true in our lives.

God takes those things that seem certain to destroy us and turns them into a force for our good — a catalyst for our growth, a push in a new direction, a profound shift in how we view others…The list of possibilities is as infinite as His mercy.

Often, only our “black moments” can force us to make room for God or for the plans He has for us.

To quote friend and fellow author Mettabel Okulaja, “If I want all of God, I must let go of all of me.”

Only in letting go of everything can we—or our characters—make room to receive the pure, life-giving power God wants to pour into our lives.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. (1 Thesalonians 5:16-18 MSG)

So, when life is darkest, let us fix our eyes on the triumph and transformation ahead, thanking God even for the storm that will usher in the joy to come.

And for my fellow writers, ramp up that darkness, so the light of your story’s message burns bright!

Your turn to Shed Your Light below…

We want to hear your story. Have you come through a “black moment” and emerged stronger, happier, or with greater wisdom?

In the books or movies which had the strongest impact on your emotions, what was the black moment?

More on “the black moment”:

The Black Moment—When is it Dark Enough?


The What and Why of Writing: Black Moment

About the author:

Bridgett's promo2Bridgett Powers has defied the limitations of impaired vision and overcome a 21-year battle against chronic pain, all of which taught her a profound truth. God shines brightest through cracked lanterns.

Now, she shares that truth through her fantasy novels, picture book, and short stories. A member of ACFW and MyBookTherapy, she also serves as co-leader and writing coach for her writer’s group, operates a proofreading and editing service, and teaches writing workshops.

About Bridgett

fantasy novelist ~ picture book and short story author ~ freelance editor ~ writing coach

Shed Your Light

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