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.