Writing the 'Oh, Shit' Moment
Updated: Jan 10, 2019
Finally wrote that difficult scene in the pilot...the one my teacher, Mike, said was the "Oh, shit moment." I did it and it was hard as hell. The moment my main character's life got turned completely upside down. It starts on page 11 (around the same time the shit hits the fan in the Ozark pilot.)
I see the scene so vividly. It's the 1930s and she's running for her life in the middle of the night with nothing more than pitch black darkness to guide her and the children. She wants to go back to the cabin, but she knows she can't despite the rifle in her hand. With bare feet, they run in the crisp night air and hear the fatal gunshot. It stops her cold but her son says, "No, Mama, we gotta go." And so she runs again, her heart and soul left in tatters.
I cried as I wrote the scene because somewhere deep in the DNA, I know this is a true story. The ancestors tapped me on the shoulder to tell it, so I don't have a choice but to honor them. It's my duty. They've been showing and teaching me a lot lately. Naw, I'm not here to entertain and write moments just for effect. I'm here to teach and help folks think. And if they also actually feel
something in this whole process, that's hella cool, too.