Pinch Point #1
Pinch Point #1- protagonist starts to make sense of the chaos and "new normal" they now find themselves in. This first pinch point gives the reader and sometimes the protagonist a hint at the conflict to come by showing them the antagonist and letting them feel the "pinch" of the antagonist's plans. Sets up the tension and conflict for the next several scenes, leading toward the midpoint.
The Pinch point of the story is very critical to lead the readers up to the dark moment of the story.
One- feeds the other.
At times, I have written dark moments with an element of humor and not necessarily leaned into the obvious of the cat getting run over by a car, or having to shoot Old Yeller.
A dark moment can simply be a crisis of consciousness.
Once the character feels all is lost and processes the situation she is in, she essentially looks back on the journey so far—what brought her to this brink of failure—and questions her commitment, beliefs, choices, and actions.
If “all is lost” at this crisis point, it only stands to reason she is going to reflect on how she got here and what possible options there are, if any, for going forward.
Now, at this crucial point in the story, the plan to reach her goal has failed, the obstacles are insurmountable, and the character thinks, “There’s absolutely no way out.” If you’re writing a romance, this is the moment the hero loses all hope of getting the girl. In a mystery, arriving at the truth seems impossible. In a thriller, evil seems to have won.
Readers love it when writers paint the heroes into a corner that is seemingly impossible to get out of. And that’s the challenge of the dark night moment and climax. But we need the situation and the solutions to be believable. If you are going to have your character use some talent or skill or amazing intellect to prevail, you better make sure you set up throughout the story that he has that needed attribute.
Most of all, have fun when writing.
Midpoint/Dark Moment: The literal middle of the story. The midpoint is the point where it looks most dark for your character. It is usually their most defining moment, as well.
What is the dark moment in a story? Think of the dark moment as the time when the protagonist reaches rock bottom. All seems lost. This will usually precede the climax (where the major plot problem is resolved), and thus take place near the beginning of the final part of the book. This is when all the torturing you've done has its greatest effect.