The Spanish call it el momento de la verdad. Hemingway made it famous. It is called the Moment of Truth: the point in a bullfight at which the matador makes the final kill.
It is a breathlessly decisive moment and it is not easy to watch. It is the critical moment when the crowd—and the matador himself—find out if he really has what it takes to make the kill. It is the culmination of a deadly dance between the matador and the fighting bull.
In a story, the moment of truth is just as critical. It is the moment at which you pit your character against his final and greatest challenge. It is the moment when your hero’s courage and skill is put to an extreme test. Does he—or doesn’t he—have what it takes to make the kill, either literally or metaphorically?
A young princess must choose between the dashing but unpredictable man she loves and her role as monarch—to be queen, she must let her lover go and sever all ties with him and his family. This is a heart-breaking moment of truth in a historical romance.
A grieving father realises that he loved the beautiful daughter who committed suicide more than his plain but resilient daughter and his only surviving child. When the father finds the honesty to share this with his daughter, it is cruel, yes, but ends their internecine war. A bleak moment of truth in a drama.
To kill or not to kill?
A detective hell-bent on revenge tracks down the serial killer who has murdered several women—including the detective’s female partner—to a deserted warehouse. He has the killer at his mercy, a shard of glass to the killer’s throat. Will his rage consume him? Or will he let justice takes it course? This is a moment of truth in a thriller, a moment you could use to show the truth about your character’s morality and strength.
Choose your moment as a writer