Most novels have at least one scene that is a turning point in the story. Something changes. It could be an outer turning point where something happens to change the way the story evolves or an inner turning point where the person’s inner resolve or attitude changes. Maybe this change affects a character so that after this point, nothing will ever be the same for him or her. Some turning points are dramatic; some are more subtle.
In my novel The Wind Weeps, Andrea is pursued by two charming fishermen. She is confused when one of them , Robert, pressures her to rush into marriage, especially when many of her friends try to warn her away from him. She goes to the beach to think and finally makes up her mind to take things more slowly. But just then, Robert appears at the beach with a bouquet of orchids. Here is an excerpt with a subtle turning point:
He was beaming happiness and I stammered as I stalled, dreading having to tell him the wedding was off. And now he’d bought these expensive flowers. I didn’t know how I’d find the courage to let him down gently. Oh, bloody hell! I’m so screwed up.
Jabs of panic churned at my insides. “You – you’ve been to Powell River already? T-today?”
“I had to take care of a few things.” He counted off the tasks on his fingers, like a to-do list. “Got the Justice of the Peace all lined up for us for tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., hotel booked, dinner reservation at the best restaurant in town, flowers for my girl.”
“You’ve already done it all?” No! No! No! I need more time. I need more time. Everything was happening too fast. I wished the gravel on the beach would open up and swallow me. My knees buckled as that sinking feeling became real and Robert was quick to catch me.
“Here. Lean on me.” He put his arm around my waist and pulled me close to him. His big, warm body, so strong, made me feel safe. Robert’s faint manly scent with a hint of lime aftershave drew me in. I reached up to touch his freshly shaved chin, meaning to push him away gently. I would take a moment, catch my breath, find a way to tell him I needed more time.
But Robert took my hand and placed a kiss on the inside of my palm. His lips continued to nibble feathery kisses up the inside of my wrist to my elbow.
“I … ah … Robert … I …” When his lips moved from inside my elbow to my neck, I knew I was in trouble. When he was this close to me, I wanted to believe in him and be his. If he had thrown me down on the beach right there, I would have helped him tear off my clothes.
“Come on down to the Hawkeye,” he said, his voice husky and urgent. He grasped my hand and walked briskly to the wharf. “You can’t imagine how good it is to see you. It’s been a long three months.”
Clutching the orchids in my free hand, and taking two steps for every one of his, I couldn’t manage more than mumbled replies.
Inside the Hawkeye’s wheelhouse, Robert closed the door behind us and latched it. He took the orchids from me and threw them into the sink. His hug almost crushed me, his kisses, as desperate as mine, engulfed me. He whipped my shorts off. His pants dropped and in a second we were in his bunk. He was hard and big. I was small and helpless. I was surprised to find myself so willing, and was ashamed at my weakness, wanting—no, needing—sex like that. I’ll tell him afterwards that I need more time. The logic was so ridiculous, I burst out laughing. Robert stopped cold. “What are you laughing at?” His tone was hard and accusing. He looked so stern it scared me.
“I was thinking we’re doing things backwards; first the honeymoon, then the wedding.” He smiled with relief, but his face was the only part of him that was relaxed. His lovemaking was urgent and insistent, like a man who’d been lost in the wilderness for too long. I tried to give him what he wanted, but with Robert intent on taking, I had to be satisfied with being taken from.
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