Artwork for podcast Writing Pursuits
43: Finding Your Mirror Moment
Episode 4310th August 2022 • Writing Pursuits • Kathrese McKee
00:00:00 00:11:13

Share Episode

Shownotes

The mirror moment in a story is when the main character experiences a moment of clarity that pushes them to change direction. It is the turning point.

That moment of clarity is when your character experiences an ah-hah moment. Most often, it is the unveiling of a truth about—themselves, the world, what they must do if they hope to survive, or what they must do to be "save the world," regardless of the price.

Your homework for this episode is to read Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between by James Scott Bell.

The question of the week is: What is your favorite "mirror moment" in a book, play, or movie?

Leave your answer at writingpursuits.com/podcast/43.

Get your free copy of the First Chapter Rubric.

Links:

WritingPursuits.com

Instagram: @WritingPursuitsPodcast

Three Story Method Certified Editor

KathreseMcKee.com

Mailerlite (affiliate link)

YourFirstChapter.com

Mentioned in this episode:

Get Your First Chapter Rubric at FirstChapterRubric.com

Is your first chapter ready? Be confident! What if you had a resource to help you figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your first chapter? An objective, informative rubric to go by? If your first chapter doesn’t work, then you have probably lost a customer for life. Or a chance to sign an agent or get a publishing contract. Don't leave things to chance. This rubric will help you identify the problem areas in your first chapter and figure out how to fix them. Be ready for queries. Be ready for readers. Get the results you dream about. Go to FirstChapterRubric.com.

Transcripts

Kathrese:

What does writing from the middle mean? What are some

Kathrese:

mirror moments in literature and movies? Can you find your mirror

Kathrese:

moment? Within your stories answers to these questions and

Kathrese:

more in this episode of writing proceeds Welcome to the writing

Kathrese:

pursuits podcast where authors like you discuss writing craft,

Kathrese:

author, life and book marketing strategies. I'm your host

Kathrese:

Kathrese. McKee. I own writing pursuits and write and produce

Kathrese:

the weekly newsletter writing pursuits tips for authors. In

Kathrese:

addition, I am a speculative fiction author writing pursuits

Kathrese:

is for authors who drink too much coffee, endure judgemental

Kathrese:

looks from their free riding companions and struggle for

Kathrese:

words. If you are a writer seeking encouragement,

Kathrese:

information and inspiration This podcast is for you. Let's get to

Kathrese:

it. Hey, writing precedes authors. Welcome back to the

Kathrese:

podcast. To those of you who are new, I want to extend a special

Kathrese:

welcome. My name is Kathrese McKee. And I'm glad you're here.

Kathrese:

Please leave a comment a star rating and follow the show to

Kathrese:

help others find writing pursuits. The mirror moment in

Kathrese:

the story is when the main character experiences a moment

Kathrese:

of clarity that pushes them to change direction, it is the

Kathrese:

turning point. That moment of clarity is when your character

Kathrese:

experiences an aha moment. Most often, it is the unveiling of a

Kathrese:

truth about themselves the world what they must do if they hope

Kathrese:

to survive or what they must do to save the world regardless of

Kathrese:

the price. This realization is a catalyst for your character to

Kathrese:

go from a reactive passive state where things are happening to

Kathrese:

them to a proactive more dynamic state where they are making

Kathrese:

things happen. Today I am focusing on positive outcomes.

Kathrese:

However, your main character is not required to make the right

Kathrese:

choice. In real life. People make poor and destructive

Kathrese:

choices all the time. Some people have that moment of

Kathrese:

clarity about themselves that mirror moment but they choose to

Kathrese:

look away. Some people glimpse the real world and reject

Kathrese:

reality. Many people know what must happen for survival but

Kathrese:

illogically. They hide their heads in the sand. Worse, people

Kathrese:

figure out what must be done to save the world and choose to

Kathrese:

ignore the call. I can't think of any examples of that in real

Kathrese:

life, can you, uh, he mean, today, let's focus on positive

Kathrese:

outcomes. Your character is going to save the world and

Kathrese:

themselves right learn how to identify the mirror moment.

Kathrese:

James Scott Bell is my writing mentor through his books on

Kathrese:

writing craft. There is not another writer about writing who

Kathrese:

has taught me more. And that is saying something because I have

Kathrese:

a fairly extensive library. In 2014. Bell wrote a short book,

Kathrese:

write your novel from the middle, a new approach for

Kathrese:

plotters, Pantsers, and everyone in between. The book has a long

Kathrese:

title, but the paperback edition is only 88 pages. We will

Kathrese:

nickname it mirror moment for short. I read this book every

Kathrese:

year or so and reference it whenever I get stuck. homework

Kathrese:

assignment Your homework is to buy this book and watch for the

Kathrese:

following points. Phil describes an algorithm he calls quote, the

Kathrese:

Golden Triangle. The mirror moment is at the triangles Apex

Kathrese:

the top, it's the middle. The left hand point represents pre

Kathrese:

story psychology. And the right hand point represents

Kathrese:

transformation. You must have all three points for a strong

Kathrese:

story creating your stories midpoint must be intentional and

Kathrese:

transformational. And I'm going to quote from his book his

Kathrese:

explanation. At any stage of your writing. You can ask

Kathrese:

yourself with a mirror moment in your story might be you can play

Kathrese:

with it. You can brainstorm is that a transformational moment?

Kathrese:

Is it about facing the toughest odds? What's going on inside

Kathrese:

your character?

Kathrese:

What do you want there to be going on? This is the apex of

Kathrese:

what I call the Golden Triangle. This is the most crucial thing

Kathrese:

to know, because this is what your story is really all about.

Kathrese:

practice identifying examples of mirror moments in books, plays

Kathrese:

and movies. Bell gives many great illustrations in his

Kathrese:

mirror moment book. But let me supply a few more. Spoiler

Kathrese:

alert. I'm going to talk about The Last Jedi so if you haven't

Kathrese:

seen it, watch it first. The Last Jedi is from the latest

Kathrese:

Star Wars trilogy, I think. And in the first movie The Force

Kathrese:

Awakens and through most of the second movie The Last Jedi, the

Kathrese:

main character array is searching for who she is. Who

Kathrese:

are her parents. How did she wind up as an orphaned scavenger

Kathrese:

on a desk? third planet. Most importantly, why does she have

Kathrese:

such a powerful connection to the Force in The Force Awakens,

Kathrese:

Ray glimpses her past. If you blink you miss her vision of the

Kathrese:

moment she is stranded on Jakku as a very young child. As a

Kathrese:

young adult, Ray is convinced her parents will return for her

Kathrese:

some day, and she counts the days of her exile by keeping

Kathrese:

score on the wall of her little house. When she gets caught up

Kathrese:

in saving the droid, you know those pesky droids, she is

Kathrese:

reluctant to leave Jakku for fear she will miss reuniting

Kathrese:

with her family. To the outside observer. It's apparent that Ray

Kathrese:

has pinned her hopes on wishful thinking. But she doesn't see

Kathrese:

things that way and continues her search for identity in the

Kathrese:

last Jedi. Finally, in the midst of her training with Luke and a

Kathrese:

few intense moments with Kylo Ren re seeks answers in a very

Kathrese:

dark place the mirror cave in the cave, she faces her greatest

Kathrese:

fear. Instead of seeing her parents as she had hoped. She

Kathrese:

sees infinite versions of herself in the mirror, both

Kathrese:

ahead of her and behind her. This is when she realizes that

Kathrese:

she is alone. Her future is up to her, she must decide what to

Kathrese:

do next. I believe this is the moment when Ray finally puts

Kathrese:

aside her childhood wishes and decides to take on her future as

Kathrese:

an adult. She doesn't mature in a heartbeat far from it, but she

Kathrese:

is ready for her transformation. You don't need an actual mirror.

Kathrese:

Unless you're a famous Hollywood producer. Be careful about using

Kathrese:

an actual mirror to make your point. It's been done before.

Kathrese:

The mirror moment is simply when truth triumphs, or not. One of

Kathrese:

my all time favorite books is the blue sword by Robin McKinley

Kathrese:

the tale of anger Ed crew, also known as Harry in chapter 12,

Kathrese:

roughly 70% of the way through the book, Harry has a

Kathrese:

confrontation with the king she secretly loves when he shuts her

Kathrese:

down mainly because he quote unquote knows better. She

Kathrese:

considers her options and decides to strike out on her

Kathrese:

own, knowing she will be cut off from her people for disobeying

Kathrese:

the Kings wishes. This is Harry's mirror moment, she can

Kathrese:

stay and maintain the status quo with the king or leave to raise

Kathrese:

the alarm and gather help against the impending threat.

Kathrese:

When she sets off during the night she leaves behind the sash

Kathrese:

that symbolizes her rank, her personal stakes couldn't be

Kathrese:

higher. The mirror moment is a point of realization and

Kathrese:

decision no mirror needed. In this moment, your character or

Kathrese:

characters move from being reactive to being proactive.

Kathrese:

until Chapter 12 of the blue sword. Harry was on board

Kathrese:

following along, questioning, but compliant after chapter 12

Kathrese:

Harry takes charge despite the odds against her. Another

Kathrese:

example of a mirror moment is in The Hunger Games by Suzanne

Kathrese:

Collins When Rue is killed. At this point, Katniss goes from

Kathrese:

playing defense to playing offense. We knew Katniss had

Kathrese:

potential before this happens in the book. But afterward, we see

Kathrese:

her stepping into a new role as an opponent, not only to the

Kathrese:

other players, but to the government that created the

Kathrese:

Hunger Games. Yes,

Kathrese:

I love a strong kick butt heroine. But let's take up a

Kathrese:

different example from Harry Potter and the Order of the

Kathrese:

Phoenix otherwise known as book five. This is roughly the middle

Kathrese:

of the Harry Potter series. The students have had many

Kathrese:

adventures and misadventures up to this point. But things get

Kathrese:

deadly serious during the reign of High Inquisitor Dolores

Kathrese:

Umbridge. In Book five, Harry decides to teach his classmates

Kathrese:

how to combat the dark arts. In my opinion, this is a moment

Kathrese:

Harry chooses to live up to his potential. He is a reluctant

Kathrese:

leader, but a leader nonetheless. From here on, Harry

Kathrese:

is more proactive than reactive. A happy ending is not a given.

Kathrese:

Mirror moments do not always lead to a happy ending or a

Kathrese:

positive transformation. As we discussed in the beginning. For

Kathrese:

today, though, we will assume your story's ending is going to

Kathrese:

be positive. Your character will look inside their heart and

Kathrese:

wonder what kind of person they are. What do they believe? Have

Kathrese:

they believed a lie? What are they willing to sacrifice? The

Kathrese:

stakes need to be high? And then we hope they went out. Your

Kathrese:

homework is to read James Scott Bell's book. Write your novel

Kathrese:

from the middle and new approach for plotters, Panthers and

Kathrese:

everyone in between. The question for this week is what

Kathrese:

is your favorite mirror moment in a book player Movie? That's

Kathrese:

all I have for today. Until next time, keep writing. Thank you

Kathrese:

for joining us today. If you enjoyed this episode, please

Kathrese:

leave a comment and follow the podcast. If you're new around

Kathrese:

here I hope you will sign up for the weekly newsletter writing

Kathrese:

pursuits. Tips for authors that link and all the links mentioned

Kathrese:

in today's episode are in the show notes at writing

Kathrese:

pursuits.com. Please join us on Wednesdays for new episodes and

Kathrese:

keep writing my friends. Keep writing

Links