Almost every plot in every book, or in every movie has a moment where the reader (or viewer) drops their jaw. Sometimes we think we see it coming. Other times, it takes us off guard. Either way, a good jaw drop is essential for every single manuscript we sit down to write...
Shakespeare was a champ at the jaw drop. Think of how Romeo must have felt as he hunkered over Juliet's lifeless body; poison warming his throat. All of a sudden, Juliet's eyes shoot open, and the truth of what he has just done hits him hard. The reader knew Juliet was not dead. Perhaps that is why our hearts thundered and our tongues longed to cry out and scream, "Don't swallow the poison, you nit wit!"
Grey's Anatomy perfected the jaw drop in the final episode of season five (I never followed the show, so this is old news). The residents and interns of Seattle Grace are appalled by the shape of a man brought into the ER who jumped in front of a bus to safe a woman's life. He is mangled beyond recognition, and to make matters worse, the man is missing his ID. Watch this scene...where one of the main characters realizes that the patient in the hospital bed is one of Seattle Grace's own residents and best friend.
I can't resist this one from Grey's where Meredith pulls a live bazooka round out of a man's chest cavity (sorry, but the show is just full of jaw-dropping moments). Except for the whole corny McDreamy moment...this took me completely off guard.
In books, writers find creative ways to stun the reader in much the same ways a movie and TV director do. We want to bring you to a moment when your heart is pounding, your breath is shallow, your hands are sweaty on the covers of the book, and your mouth slowly drops open. Suddenly, you realize everything you thought was going to happen...turned out completely different.
What are some moments in books and film that left your mind spinning and your heart racing, but--most importantly--left your jaw on the floor?