Most writers are familiar with the basics of the novel’s climax – it is the final showdown, the moment the character succeeds or fails. In this video I discuss how to write a strong climax that ties together your novel and creates a satisfying ending for the reader.
- The climax is all about rewarding the reader for having stuck around on this journey with your protagonist.
- The character arc should be completed in a final act of sacrifice, of overcoming a flaw, or of letting go of a false belief.
- The skills, allies, and/or information gained throughout the novel should be put to use.
- The protagonist should have a moment of facing down the antagonist entirely on his/her own, even if it is just a single moment within a larger battle.
Questions to Ask About Your Novel
1. Is there payoff for the reader during the climax?
Your climax should tie together what the character has learned throughout the novel. If the climax doesn’t require the protagonist to use any new skills, information, or allies, it’s likely to feel weak or unsatisfying. The reader should have the impression that the character couldn’t have succeeded at the climax earlier in the story because they didn’t have the skills, allies, or information to make it possible.
2. Does the protagonist complete his/her character arc?
The protagonist should demonstrate growth during the climax. This often takes the form of a personal sacrifice or even the loss of the initial goal/objective. The character might learn that what they initially wanted is bad or not beneficial and they may willingly give up their initial goal. They might also give up their goal as a byproduct of doing the right thing (such as saving a life or being honest). The strongest climaxes tie this sacrifice to a character arc that has its roots set down in the first quarter.
If you have any questions about writing the climax, please post it in the comments below.
Comment Question: Did you know how your novel was going to end when you started writing or did you figure it out as you went?
Workshop #1 critiques will be posted later today and every day this week. If you didn’t get a chance to submit last week, the submission form is still open!
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