Cindy Kirk
Cindy Kirk

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My “Aha!” Moments, or, Life Imitates Art

Like many writers, I’ve spent a lot of time studying the craft of writing. Recently as I was reviewing my notes I came across a discussion of a particular kind of plot point that is found in many books and movies. It’s often my favorite part of a story, and I think that’s because I’ve seen it happen in my own life as well.

It’s called the “Moment of Clarity” or the “Aha! Moment.” It’s the moment when the hero (or heroine) realizes what their journey has been about. They have gained a greater understanding of themselves or their situation; they see things in a new and clearer light. Their original goal might even fall by the wayside as something new and better takes its place. They become better people, stronger people, and at times (depending on the story) nobler people. This usually happens late in the story and is a sign of how the character has grown and changed.

For example, think of the moment in Titanic when Rose knows she can never be happy in her constricting life of privilege, so she jumps off the lifeboat in order to join the man she loves. Or the end of Casablanca, when Rick, who once only lived for himself (“I stick my neck out for nobody,” he says at the beginning of the film) gives up his love and dedicates his life to a nobler cause (beating the Nazis).

In the real world this can happen many times over the course of our lives. I’ve even had two times when an “Aha!” moment came to me during a movie I was watching! In those films the heroine’s moment of clarity so spoke to where I was in my own life that it became my moment of clarity as well.

Crossing_Delancey_posterThe first was in the late 1980s when I was flying across country and the movie they showed on the airplane was Crossing Delancey. In that movie, the heroine spent a lot of time crushing on a hot-shot, high-brow author, an “intellectual” she thinks has all the qualities she wants. But by the end of the film she realizes she has truly fallen in love with a humble pickle merchant—the very man her interfering relatives and the old-fashioned matchmaker were trying to pair her with in the first place.

Her moment of clarity mirrored mine perfectly: sometimes the love of your life doesn’t come in the exact package you were expecting. I rarely cry at movies (not even the “tear-jerkers”), and yet at the end of this film I was shedding happy tears because it had hit me on such a personal level. Shortly after this I became engaged to a man I already knew but had not really “dated”—someone who had few of the outward qualifications I had been looking for, but he was a wonderful man whose heart and soul meshed with my own. (Now married 23 years and counting!)

The second movie was Persuasion, the 1995 version with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root. I came across it at a low ebb in my life, and it had a huge impact on me. I know the famous kiss at the end was not in Jane Austen’s original, but I’m glad it’s there. To me it perfectly encapsulates that moment when they are going to forget about what everyone else thinks and take hold of the love they know is right.

PersuasionSeeing how Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth finally got together after so many years and despite all the people working against them was incredibly inspiring to me. I had been holding back from some things I wanted to pursue because I had been accepting bad advice from well-intentioned people. When I saw that movie I realized it was time to live my own life. I made some drastic changes that I have profited by ever since. In fact, to this day my personal subtitle for Persuasion is “Don’t Let the B***ds Get You Down.” Not very elegant, I know, but so true!

These two movies may not seem like anything above average, but they will always hold a special place in my heart because I saw them at a time when they really resonated with me.

So how about you? Have you ever seen a movie or read a book that spoke to you in such a way, where you said, “Yes! That’s me!” and that spurred an “Aha!” moment of your own?

 

 

A LADY MOST LOVELYDelamere_A_LadyMostLovely

Margaret Vaughn is the wealthiest heiress in London—or so everybody thinks. Saddled with debts and facing financial and social humiliation, she finds an unlikely savior in Tom Poole . . . After surviving a shipwreck and amassing a fortune in the gold fields of Australia, Tom Poole is the toast of London society. Yet despite his new found fame, he’s never forgotten his own humble beginnings. When he learns of Margaret’s plight, he offers her financial assistance—but his interest is not strictly business. This rugged adventurer now seeks a different kind of gold. Although many men pursue Margaret’s hand because of her beauty and lands, can Tom convince her it’s her heart he’s after?

Jennifer is giving away a copy of her latest release, A Lady Most Lovely, the winner’s name to be drawn from those who comment.  International welcome.

Check back on Sunday to see if you’ve won a copy of this fabulous book!

 

Author Bio: Jennifer Delamere  

Delamere_author_photo_trimmedThe youngest child of a Navy pilot and a journalist, Jennifer acquired a love of adventure and an excitement for learning that continues to this day. She’s lived in three countries and traveled throughout the United States. Her debut novel An Heiress at Heart was chosen by Grand Central Publishing to be the first inspirational romance for their Forever imprint and was nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. Her second novel, A Lady Most Lovely, will be released September 24, 2013 and has already earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Jennifer loves reading classics and histories, which she mines for the vivid details to bring to life the people and places in her books. She resides with her husband in North Carolina—where, when not dreaming up romantic adventures for her characters, she can be found fantasizing about her next European vacation. For more information about Jennifer’s books, blog, and mailing list, visit www.jenniferdelamere.com.

 


36 thoughts on “My “Aha” Moments by guest author Jennifer Delamere

  1. Mary Preston says:

    I love your “Aha” moments. I can’t actually think I’ve ever been struck with any. I probably have but they may have been subtle or I just didn’t realise it at the time.

  2. amyc says:

    What a fun post! I can’t think of any Aha moments at this time. I’m sure there are some though! :o

  3. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

    Fab post, Jennifer. I’m always bad at thinking of something on the spur of the moment. I know, I just know, I will think of the perfect answer…tomorrow. lol

  4. Lisa Hutson says:

    Thanks for this post. It will likely be something that I will think about for some time. I cant think of any particular aha moments. But there are movies that have a lasting effect on me. Love Actually. A movie about love and how many different forms of it there are and how many ways to mess it up. haha Really. Love that movie!

  5. Good morning, everyone! Thanks for commenting. I think I have a tendency to connect pretty strongly with movies, which is probably why these two were able to affect me so much.

    Lisa, I love “Love Actually” too! Amazing what love can make us do sometimes, isn’t it!

  6. Cindy, I have that problem a lot. Recently I discovered that’s called “staircase wit”–in other words, it’s like you’re leaving a party and while you are on the stairs going outside you think of the perfect thing you could have said earlier. The great thing about being a writer is that my characters can always say awesome things at the right time! :cool:

  7. What a wonderful post, Jennifer, and so happy to have you visit with us on the JQs! BTW, I saw your new book yesterday up here in the wilds in Canada – at a Target in Ottawa. Congrats on the new release!

  8. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    Love this post, Jennifer–partly because you mention that Ciaran Hinds version of Persuasion! He is simply wonderful, one of those great voices who can convey so much emotion in so few syllables! Literature brings me a lot of my aha! moments, too. I think it’s why we read…to learn other ways of solving problems. We can “try on” so many options without actually having to live with the consequences! ;-)

  9. Deb says:

    Thank you for the post today, Jennifer. Your new release sounds very good. I think we all have our AHA moments, but, as another person commented, they may be quiet ones that upon later reflection make us realize that they were such.

  10. Kathleen OD says:

    Great post Jennifer and congrats on your new release.. I love a good AHA moment. T

  11. Vanessa, thank you for telling me about seeing my book in Ottawa! I lived in Ottawa for a year after college (I worked at the National Arts Centre), and the city will always have a special place in my heart! :smile:

    1. Jennifer, come back and visit us sometime!

  12. Kathleen – Yes, I really love the Ciaran Hinds version! He did such a fabulous job. To me, he will always be Capt. Wentworth! And so true what you said about literature. It reminds me of that quote that a reader “lives a thousand lives…”

    Deb, I think it’s true that “Aha!” moments can perhaps sneak up on us sometimes. That’s one way real life is different from the movies, where such moments are large and technicolor.

  13. CateS says:

    I guess sometimes the ‘ah ha’ moment comes after something ends for me.

  14. Connie Fischer says:

    I’m sure I’ve had a number of A-ha moments in my life but nothing in particular comes to mind.

    I want to tell you how much I am enjoying reading A LADY MOST LOVELY. It is fabulous! I also loved AN HEIRESS AT HEART too. Do look for a review of one or both of them soon on our blog, bookworm2bookworm.

    I hope everyone will get both of these novels. They’re terrific and you will then be like me – waiting with bated breath for Jennifer’s next novel.

    Congratulations, Jennifer!

  15. Shana Shana says:

    Is it lame if I say after I saw that Al Gore movie? I cannot remember anything lately, so you’ll have to remind me of the name. The one about global warming. I was always pro-recycling and environmentally conscious, but that movie really made me take it seriously.

  16. Cate- An “Aha” moment can definitely come after one has had time to reflect on something.
    Connie- Thank you for the kind words! So glad you are enjoying the books.
    Shana- It’s true that documentaries and nonfiction books can be a powerful way to move people to action.

  17. catslady says:

    I’m blank on just one book but I have to say there is usually something in every book that resonates with me. At times it may be something that has happened in my life or maybe something I want to happen. Every book is an experience of some kind :)

    1. It’s wonderful how books will take us to new places, and I love the books that also give me a different view of the world.

  18. Polly says:

    Two Ahas come to mind, one book, one film. I was new to writing historical romances when I read Madeline Hunter’s “Lessons of Desire”. She opened my eyes to how a female character can be strong, that she doesn’t need to get all noodle-brained over a man just because he’s gorgeous and that she won’t let him push her around. Such elegant writing, love her works. And the film “Out of Africa” spoke to my very independent, don’t tell me what to do, nature. Baroness Karen Blixen-Finecke had a dream and she worked desperately hard to make it happen despite virtually everyone but the man she dearly loved telling her it couldn’t be done.

    1. Those are great examples! I love Madeline Hunter’s books! And we all love romance heroines who have a backbone. ;-) “Out of Africa” was fabulous. Amazing what she accomplished. A great example of pushing through tough circumstances.

  19. eap says:

    Thank you for your post! I really enjoy meeting new to me authors every Friday!

    1. Thank you! I love being able to spend a day with the Jaunty ladies and readers.

  20. Hi Jennifer, thanks for the very astute post today. Those a ha! moments happen to all of us, but it’s what we do with them that counts. Sometimes it’s a missed opportunity. But if you get the message and act on it; it can change your life. I love it when the protagonists finally get to that point.

    1. That’s so true, Flora! It’s a great part of the story because even when the character figures out what he or she needs to do, there’s still some obstacles to overcome and we love rooting for them to succeed.

  21. Stefanie D says:

    I loved your post!
    However I’ve never had an ‘aha’-moment myself. Sounds great though.

    1. Perhaps sometimes it comes more in the form of small decisions that add up to big things…that fork in the road and having an inner sense of which one to take…things that we realize in retrospect were important choices.

  22. Patty H says:

    Staircase moments, love it! Don’t we all have those?
    Persuasion is one of my favorite JA books made into a movie. Not sure if that’s the version I have seen or not.

    1. Yep, I have LOTS of staircase moments! That’s why I especially enjoy witty dialogue/banter in books and movies–I think it exists mostly in fiction! ;-)

  23. Melody May says:

    Happens quite a bit. Except cant really think one off the top of my head.

  24. bn100 says:

    No, can’t think of anything

  25. Marcy Shuler says:

    Thanks for the post, Jennifer. I’m sure I’ve had AHA Moments, but none come to mind at this time.

    I do pretty good at snappy comebacks so I don’t have a lot of staircase moments. LOL

    1. Marcy, good for you for having snappy comebacks! I think that requires a certain amount of self-confidence and fearlessness. In that regard, I always wanted to be like Elaine on Seinfeld.

  26. Laurie G says:

    Nice to meet you Jennifer. I could relate to Meg Ryan in French Kiss.

  27. Chelsea B. says:

    I always enjoyed movies where the lady has issues with herself, but in the end accepts them and loves herself for who she is. That’s always empowering, and makes me feel that way too– at least, for a few hours :mrgreen:

  28. Becky B says:

    For me that aha moment came when I read Lucy M. Montgomery’s book the Blue Castle. In the book Valancy thinks she’s going to die and she begins to make decisions not based on what other people think. Her book inspired me to not care as much about what other people think. I’m currently reading your book An Hieress at Heart and would love to win the next one.

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