Rachel McLean

– Thrillers That Make You Think

Hitting the Darkest Hour in my #novelinaweek

We’re there.

It’s Friday, and things are looking bad for poor Alex.

I’m not going to tell you how (you’ll have to read the book), but we’re now at the stage where it looks like she’s not going to solve the murder, prevent the same crime being committed in another version of London, or even rescue her career. Let alone get home before closing time.

This is the – dum, dum duuum – Darkest Hour.

What’s the darkest hour, I hear you ask? Let me illustrate by way of some popular examples, both from literature and film:

  • In Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the bit where the Emperor is chucking lightning bolts at Luke and he’s being tempted to join the Dark Side.
  • In Jane Eyre, the point where she thinks her only choice is to marry St John Rivers and be a missionary’s wife.
  • In Grease, the moment where Danny tries to make out with Sandy at the drive-in and she dumps him.
  • In Terminator, the point at which Sarah is hiding out in a hotel and realises ‘it will never be over’.
  • In To Kill a Mockingbird, the moment where the jury declares Tom Robinson guilty.
  • In The Matrix, the point where Neo realises he has to sacrifice himself for Morpheus, then is left inside the Matrix when his companions escape.

If you feel like geeking out, here’s the clip from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi:

The darkest hour is the point before the climax, when things look really, really bleak. How on earth will our plucky heroine (Alex, not Luke) solve the mystery and get home without balling everything up?

Well, that’s what gets solved in the next bit of the story – the Climax. This is the big scene (sometimes called the money scene in Hollywood because that’s where all the big set pieces take place and the shots that make them their money are taken from) where everything comes together and the story is completed, for good or bad. The hero kills the monster, the heroine solves the puzzle, or whatever. Either way, it’s going to be explosive, and a bit daft, and pretty hair-raising for Alex.

This is where I start to write really fast – the end of the novel is in sight and the words are falling out of my head. It’s the fun bit! So I’d better get back to it.


If you want to follow my #novelinaweek progress, here are some links:

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