There are times when I’m working on a blog post or even just in life in general that my Musical Theatre background jumps to the forefront and commands my attention. Hey, remember me? So, here we are at a very important moment in The Six Stage Plot Structure, Turning Point #3: The Point of No Return, and all I can hear and visualize in my mind is the song by that very name from Phantom of the Opera. Sing it, Sara Brightman! Turn up the volume, Michael Crawford! And yes, I realize that I’m dating myself a little by giving kudos to the original Broadway Stars and not those from the movie. You have to understand, the pursuit of Broadway and Musical Theatre was my life from the ages of 16 to 26. An entire decade devoted to the stage and music. It is fitting that I think back on that time when looking at this Turning Point, because the choices that I made then have helped to define who I am as a writer today.
We generally reach Turning Point #3 mid-way through a story. Up to this point the hero or heroine has had the option of giving up on their plan, and returning to the life they were living at the start of their journey. But now, the hero declares their intentions and makes a full commitment to their goal. There is no turning back. In The Hunger Games, it is at this point that Katniss honors Rue in burial and raises her hand in a long forgotten salute to the people of Panem whom she knows are forced to watch the games. Katniss is not only declaring her intentions to survive the games, she is proclaiming herself as a would-be rebel against a horrific institution.
Towards the end of my Musical Theatre decade, I’d been dealing with a severe case of acid reflux which resulted in inconsistencies in my ability to sing. I reached an emotional crossroads, and I made the decision to turn back. I could have made the decision to work with doctors, etc. and continue my theatrical pursuits, but upon evaluation, I realized that I just didn’t want a life in the theatre enough. Somewhere between 16 and 26, my life goals changed. As a result, I changed my course and found the fulfilling life of wife, mother, and aspiring author instead. I’m not one to promote quitting, but this was the right choice for me at that time.
When it comes to my life as a writer, quitting is not an option. As a full time working mom, dedicated wife and family member, finding those golden nuggets of time to write is hard, but the goal of publication is worth a few less hours of sleep per night. I’ve faced the rejections and learned from them when I could have hung my head in defeat. There is literally no turning back. Writing is a part of my lifestyle now. It is in the air I breathe. It, in part, defines who I am as a person.
Don’t get me wrong. When our heroes in literature or film reach Turning Point #3, they must declare themselves as dedicated to their goals. Full steam ahead is the only option. In real life however, when faced with similar circumstances, it is possible that making a choice to alter your current life path is the only way to get on the right life path.
Good for you for being able to see that aspirations and career choices can change! i was a teacher for ten years and became burnt out (I taught special ed). I always wanted to write, but that took a back seat for a while, until a little later. Keep writing!
Hi Roni – Yes, dreams change. I felt like a failure, but was so excited to embrace my new world at the same time. I wouldn’t trade those life experiences or all the acting and singing training in for the world. As I’m sure you have found with your teaching background, it all makes its way into the writing. There are times when I’m working on a scene when I can hear a former acting coach whisper in my ear, “It’s not necessarily what a character says, but what is said ABOUT them,” or the subtleties in action and reaction in a scene.
So nice to learn more about you. As the mother of a potential opera singer, I understand what you went through every day…and how important it seems while you are in the throes of…trying. There are as few guarantees in theater as there are in writing…but I think the writing can go on for more than ten years and after that, you ought to get your chance. I waited ten year for my break. Had I given up before that, I’d never have realized my dream. Don’t stop believing!
Hi Irene, That is so exciting for your daughter. Gosh…I remember those days. Great times. Yes, very few guarantees and a lot of room for rejection in both worlds. I wish your daughter the very best of luck. Looking back, I should have stayed on the Opera path but I diverged into the world of Musical Theatre instead. If you ever want to talk about my past experiences and how that might be able to help your daughter, let me know. I’m so glad that you stayed with writing and fulfilled your dream. I still remember when you won the Golden Leaf. I loved Glory Days! 🙂
Yay! Good for you. I fear I have also reached Turning Point #3. I can’t wait for Stage VI. Is that when we’re accepting our RITA awards?? Great post!
Hi Joanna! I fear that I have reached the end of the Six Stage Plot Structure as it relates to my writing journey. I’m hanging at TP #3 with you and many others! All books and movies from here on out, I’d say!
Awesome R.A.! Great that you’re pursuing your dreams and moving toward your goals. Very inspirational!!!!
Thanks! From someone who inspires me daily, that means a lot to me! 🙂
You go girl. I”m proud of you. You are definitely not a quitter but a creative, multi-talented person branching out who had a great need for a family.
I must have learned from the best! 🙂