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RWA's OWL: The Black Moment


The Black Moment

The Black Moment is the point in your story when all hope is lost, when crisis peaks, when things seem bleakest and we start to think the characters won’t be able to find their HEA. But how do you make it powerful while still being the right one for your story? And how do your characters deal with their loss during the following scenes—the Dark Night of the Soul? Using examples from romance novels and movies, we’ll explore the techniques authors use and apply them to your own work.

In this workshop the elements of a powerful black moment will be examined, as well as variations in the type of black moments--such as when the external conflict explodes, or a false goal is achieved--along with more advanced black moments, such as the double-genre black moment (when there's more than one plot thread, eg, romance and suspense). Examples will be analysed from both books and movies (using excerpts and movie clips), and broken down into elements that will be easy to apply in participants' own work.

Learning Outcomes

1. To understand the elements in creating a powerful black moment, and to recognise various forms of the black moment.

2. To be able to apply that knowledge to their own work to plot or improve their manuscript's black moment.

Each week a video will be uploaded in Moodle. The video will include the content of the week’s learning, including examples from book excerpts and movie clips. On the same day a PDF handout will be distributed, which will include homework exercises, and participants will be offered the opportunity to post their homework to a Moodle forum. Each week, Rachel will be available in the forum for questions and discussion, and will use homework exercises submitted by participants as examples to the entire group (through giving feedback on the homework and how it could be improved). The time commitment for participants is up to them, from simply watching the videos each week, through to posting homework and becoming involved in forum discussions.

Presenter Bio: 

Rachel Bailey developed a serious book addiction at a young age (via Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck) and has never recovered. Just how she likes it. She went on to gain degrees in psychology and social work, but is now living her dream—writing both category romance and romantic comedy. Her books have hit the USA Today bestseller list, are published in over twenty-six countries, and have been translated into more than sixteen languages. She lives on a piece of paradise on Australia’s east coast with her hero and their dog pack. You can find Rachel at

Course structure:

Week 1: About the Black Moment

Week 2: Five Things to Think about when Writing Your Black Moment

Week 3: Types of Black Moments

Week 4: The Dark Night of the Soul 

Course Dates: 1st - 28th May

Cost: RWA-Member – $30.00 Non RWA-Member – $80.00

*Please note, there is a $0.30 Trybooking fee at checkout.

Starts: 1st May 2017

Ends: 28th May 2017


RWA's OWL Courses
PO Box H120
Hurlstone Park, NSW 2193

Contact Details:

Pauline Johnston

OWL Registrar