Lani and I were just sitting here talking about structure–because we’re wonks, that’s why, and also because she’s setting up her Story Wonk revision class–and she mentioned that she saw turning points as hinges in the story, which is a good image. I said, “So you think of turning points as a choice the protagonist makes?” Which is freaking brilliant. The problem with teaching turning points is that you have to make sure that the point is an event, not just the protagonist suddenly deciding to change her life. The turning point needs to be external. But if it’s just something that happens to the protagonist, she’s not pushing the plot. She can’t just get hit by a truck, she has to step out in front of it. But if you combine “external event” with “choice,” then you’ve got both. So Maddie finds the passport in the safety deposit box (event) but the direction of the turning point depends on the choice she makes at that moment.
I like this. I must think about it more, but I like it a lot. Lani rules.