Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tipping Point

Hubby and I have been watching the History Channel's miniseries documentary "America: the Story of Us" on Netflix. It's been interesting to see what has happened to make the USA what it is today. Two episodes in particular struck me as we were watching. One centered on the Bust Era that followed the Stock Market Crash in 1929 and the other was focused on WWII.

The thing about it that really stuck with me is that they told individual stories. Historians think that the bank run that tipped the scales was started by an unnamed man who was unhappy with the service he received at a bank and spread rumors about how he was treated. As people heard what he said, they all went to withdraw their money and the bank collapsed. It was a domino effect after that, but it started with this one man.

The construction of the Hoover Dam was the vision of one man who wanted a big bonus. He came up with innovative techniques, like using pipes full of freezing water to cool hot cement. He pushed through the biggest construction project of the time, giving thousands of men jobs and stability when the country was falling apart.

There are countless small stories that add up to big events. We never know what is going to be the tipping point that leads to something unexpected. The stories we write need the same kind of momentum. On some level, the things that happen need consequences that will tip the scales one way or the other. It might not be the beginning of a war or a stock market crash, but the choices our characters make need to be the beginning of something.


Krispy said...

It's interesting how these small things can add up to huge things. It's a reminder that everything our characters do should have consequence, and that a lot of times it's individual desires that drive larger events.

Also, I just wanted to say I'm glad I'm not the only one who watches the History Channel for fun. :)

Jenny Phresh said...

Even revolutions are built on tiny actions and decisions. So true!

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Deep thinkin' Kayeleen. Maybe too deep for me ;)
J/K, it's absolutely true that one (wo)man can make a huge difference. They're the rudders on a boat.