Three Things You Need in Your Climax

The climax.

That point which should be the tensest, most enthralling portion of the book.  Done well, a climax can be simply stupendous.  However, there are also few things in writing that are as bad as a climax done poorly. 3thingsclimaxpost

As one example, there was a series that I was reading a couple years ago that had a ton of promising potential.  It had great characters, gave an amazingly-executed theme, had a thrilling setting, and was explicitly Christian without falling into any of the traps that Christian fiction can have a tendency to fall into.  The first book was stellar and was my favorite novel that I read that year.

But then I came to the second book, which, while it maintained much of the momentum from the first book, failed to have a climax.  It merely set up the last book and thus lacked any real type of conclusion.

I still think the first book is excellent, and still want to finish the series sometime.  But I finished the second book two years ago.  And I haven’t brought myself to read the last book of the series since then.  Despite everything that the series had going for it, it had a distinct lack of a climax.  And that lack killed everything else going on in the series.

Obviously, this isn’t the type of reaction that you want to get from the readers of your book.  While on the outset, the climax may seem rather simple—it’s where everything gets resolved after all—it can often be trickier to execute than it seems on first glance.

“And given how devastating a poor climax can be to an otherwise good book, a lot rides on the success of a climax, so it’s a part of your story that needs to be planned very carefully.”  

There’s a lot that could be said about a novel’s climax—after all, it’s a big topic.  However, as I’ve been thinking of the climax, there are three basic things that every climax ought to have.  Or, rather, three balances.  Let’s look at each of them in turn. [Read more…]

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Josiah DeGraaf started reading when he was four, started writing fiction when he was six and hasn’t stopped doing either ever since. After growing up with seven younger siblings, he eventually found himself graduated and attending Patrick Henry College, where he plans on majoring in literature with a minor in pedagogy (it’s a fancy Greek word for education).
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels that have worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as fun as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. Plans for obtaining those impossible goals include listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer, ignoring college work so that he can find time to write, and avoiding coffee at all costs.

Keystone of The Matter: How to Execute Your Climax

Every element in the construction of a story is important.

The beginning catches the reader, the middle makes them care, and the conclusion satisfies. But the climax…the climax is the keystone of the whole arc. It’s the point which the whole story has been leading to, the turning where success is finally grasped, and the event from which the rest of the character’s life will lead away.keystonepost

And it needs to be done well or the rest of the story, even if it’s well written and intriguing, turns out at bit of a disappointment.

Viewed another way, if the beginning of the story is the foundation of a building, and the middle is the walls, then the climax is the roof…without which you have no house. It is the culminating event in a long chain, during which the main character must finally put to use all he’s learned during the book against overwhelming odds.

The best climaxes will tie together both internal and external struggles.

Regardless of your theme, the internal struggle, be it gathering courage, granting forgiveness, learning sacrifice, etc., is usually solved before the external struggle; [Read more…]

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Hope Ann is a speculative fiction writer who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She has self-published three Legend of Light novellas and is the Kingdom Pen Writing Team Captain. Reading since the age of five, and introducing herself to writing at age eight, she never had a question that the author’s life was the life for her. Her goal is to write thrilling Christian fantasy and futuristic fiction — stories she longed for while growing up. After graduating from homeschool, Hope now teaches writing to several of her eight younger siblings. She loves climbing trees, archery, photography, Lord of the Rings, chocolate, and collecting shiny things she claims are useful for story inspiration. You can find out more about her at: http://writinginthelightpublishing.com/