I've been thinking a lot about plot points lately. For one thing, I'm chugging along with National Novel Writing Month, and in framing the story, it's all about choosing the Big Moments, the ones that Create Change so that everything falls into a very clear, very compelling Before and After.
And then, of course, amid all those musings, you end up wondering about your plot points.
In the story of my life, I keep thinking, what are the major moments that affected me most? What choices and people and events drew a line in the sand, one marking a before and an after, as only the truly important things do? What were the good ones? The bad ones? And what were the ones that felt bad at the time, outrageously so, only to reveal themselves as something sort of incredible?
For a team-building exercise, Radley once had to talk about the five things in his life that affected him most. Some of them were circumstances, some were relationships, and others were choices or events — and, almost impossibly, when he asked me what I thought his five things might be, I guessed some form of every single one. And yes, part of that came from just really, really knowing him, but what struck us both is how obvious they felt. As if we could look at his story, and his character, and channel our fifth grade book-report days to say, "Here's why he is who he is."
There was obviously some gray area, and some of the moments I brought up, he hadn't thought of before. That, to me, may be the most interesting thing of all — that someone else can see what makes you you, and you never gave that moment or place or choice a second thought.
Anyway, it's clear that I'm knee deep in a story, but I think there's something to be said for recognizing the plot points of your own life. For knowing, or at least trying to understand, why this led to that, and what that meant for you, and how everything fits together, somehow.
Or maybe it doesn't fit together, which makes for a far more interesting story.