Do you have a moment in your life that changed you forever?  When the doctor started with, “I’m sorry to tell you…” When you saw the plus sign on the pregnancy test… When your best friend realized you lied.
Now let me ask you, does your character have a moment like that?
Short stories center around a shattering moment, which can happen before the story, to start the story, during the story, as the climax. Just think of the classic example in the ending to “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.
In “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin played with the shattering moment. A woman learns her husband is dead and secretly rejoices, thinking of all the days that would be her own. Then she learns her husband is alive and well, and she drops dead!
But the shattering moment doesn’t have to stay stuck in the short story. We can use that in our novels, asking if our events are big enough and the consequences life changing.
Look at the event that starts your character on their adventure. Is that a shattering event? Or just a difficult one? Is it big for your character in their world?
To illustrate that last point, think of The Hunger Games, where Katniss routinely faces a reaping every four years where she might be chosen to go fight for her life in a game. So it’s life as usual when the reaping happens.
But this one is different; it’s way worse. She felt her odds were fairly low, and her sister’s odds even lower. She was more concerned for her friend Gale. But her sister is called, she volunteers, and her is life shattered.
Shattering moments can make pivotal plot points throughout your novel, making it more memorable for readers.
About Kristen James: Kristen is an outdoorsy girl who loves hiking, cycling, picking wild berries and mushrooms, and exploring the mountains and coast. She loves putting a twist on her stories; in All in my Head, Avery falls for a voice she hears. Her novels have ranked in the top 100 Bestsellers in Kindle US, UK and Canada, #1 in ten different categories, and #1 in Movers & Shakers and free rankings. Connect at Follow  her on Facebook @WriterKristenJames.

Kristen James has generously donated five signed copies of Blockbuster Books Broken Down for our silent auction on Facebook.
When you bid on this item you get a chance to score some awesome writerly goods while helping us continue to bring quality literary programming to the Eugene community. Your support creates opportunities for more community education classes, places more writers in the schools, and creates scholarships for young writers. It’s a win-win!
Kristen James is offering five signed copies of Books Broken Down: The Novel Map Based on Bestsellers.  
Additionally, for information on the editing services that Kristen James offers visit here. 
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