Oct 14, 2010

Dark Before Dawn

By Susan G. Haws

“ [Y]e receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” Ether 12:6.

This is a scripture that has always irritated me. I always thought God should teach the lesson then let us practice it. The unfortunate truth is: we learn from our trials.

But really it is the key to suspense in a novel followed by a happy ending. Stories have to have deep dark moments of despair before the moment of self discovery, or reprieve, or win. The moment when you wonder if your protagonist is doomed and has been abandoned by an unkind author and no happy ending will come. Even in books by authors you know and trust to provide a happy resolution there needs to be a dark desperate point in the story.

I think this is because we readers like suspense and we have all known failure and loss in real life; thus, we want to know that there is hope and light after the worry and suffering.

A well managed dark point makes the light to follow all the brighter. But it is easier to analyze than write. Are there any signs you have got it right?


  1. Any other way would just not be right. I think we are hot wired to want our stories this way.

  2. Great scripture to illustrate you point. I'll keep it in mind, and thanks for the writing tip.

  3. It's probably for the best that we can't read ahead in our own life story!!!

  4. Thank you ladies for your comments.


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