The Midpoint

Question: I’m currently writing a dramatic romance. Does the event that marks the midpoint have to happen to the main character herself? Can the event happen to her love interest and have a profound effect on her?

Answer: The short answer is yes. But I'll give a longer answer in the interest of stimulating thought and filling out this page a little...

It's helpful to think of the midpoint and the other major turning points of a story as belonging to the external plot or "overall throughline" in Dramatica terms.

After each major turning point, we will see characters react to what happened. For instance, the midpoint (or 3rd Driver) is often a kind of "point of no return." The characters, and especially the main character, respond by becoming unable to disengage from the effort to deal with the story problem (at least, not without consequences) and the events can then build towards the external crisis (4th Driver).

It is also worthwhile to consider that well-structured stories often operate with four parallel and distinct throughlines. In addition to the overall throughline, which covers the effort to resolve the story problem, there are...

* the main character's throughline, which covers the growth and resolution of the main character's inner conflict
* the impact character throughline, which covers the influence of the impact character on the main character (often though example)
* the relationship throughline, which covers the growth of the relationship between the main and impact characters.

In a romance, the impact character is the love interest. However, it's worth noting that when the story is told from
both points of view, the POV character is always the main character of his/her own story. So, in effect, you may have two stories unfolding in the same novel with each being the impact character to the other. Of course, of these two the female lead is generally the most important, since most romance readers are female.

In many romances, the relationship and main character throughlines receive the most emphasis. Sometimes the overall throughline is merely a vehicle to get the two lovers to spend time together. Nonetheless, the overall throughline should be completely even if briefly illustrated.

All the above is just so I can say that if the midpoint event is something that happens to the impact character and the heroine is not present, then you have to consider how it will affect all the throughlines.

Will the impact character respond by doing something that increases the impact he has on the heroine?
How will the relationship now move towards a "black moment" where it appears the two must separate forever?
How will the main character feel increasing pressure to make a crucial decision whether to take a leap of faith and do something her former self would not, or to double down on the approach she knows should work?
And of course... how will the external events now build to a crisis. Does the main character find out about the midpoint event? Or does it create a looming threat the reader knows about but the main character does not? Does it prompt other characters (e.g. the antagonist) to make decisions or take action?

Best of luck.

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