Patricia asked: When the black moments happen at different points in the story for the hero and heroine, do you resolve them at different points as well? Or, does the one that occurred first take longer to resolve, with both getting resolution near the end?
You know, Patricia, sometimes my black moments aren't all that clear. Sometimes they are a little series of black moments that culminate into "how are they going to work this out?"
Now, in Hired By The Cowboy, my characters had their black moments really at the same time although they were apart. I'll risk spoilery type information here and scrimp on details, if that's ok. Basically Connor realises that he's lost everything....and discovers what he thought was most important to him isn't anymore. Alex has finally realized she loves him, and thinking him dead, realizes she'll never be able to tell him.
Marriage at Circle M was different and you'll see how it all has to do with the conflict. Grace's black moment comes early. She tells Mike her secret only half way through the book, destroying any hope she has of being with him as he wants the one thing she can't give him. Mike, on the other hand, has a black moment much later on, when he discovers he can't help Grace, that she has to make peace with things on her own. He has, by his actions, actually contributed to the problem and he feels completely helpless. He lashes out at her, destroying what is left of their friendship.
There are so many elements at work in MCM that when you get to the ending I think it's that much better. I still cry when I get there.
Now, in my latest, the hero's black moment is very clear, and it's first. He hits rock bottom, and it's only then, when he acknowledges it, that he can work his way back. The heroine doesn't see any way for them to work, so it takes some major convincing on Jonas's part.
So I guess my answer is, it depends. If a black moment comes early, it can be a source of conflict that carries the book through to the second black moment, and then both will be resolved at the end.
And sometimes, a black moment won't be resolved really at all. There are several books out there that show how the problem still exists...the victory is in how the characters deal with it, live with it, choose to go through it together.
Clear as mud?