Plot Construction 101: Climax
Well, guys, we’ve come to the climax. What is a climax? It’s the most exciting part of the novel, of course. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for. And now it’s here. And … we’re going to make it a lot less exciting by talking about it. 😉
Essentially, the climax is the coming-together of two forces, good and evil. It’s the moment of truth. The plot could go either way … the bad guys could triumph, or the good guys could win
(but, of course, we know the good guys are gonna win ’cause the good guys ALWAYS win). That’s a super simplified take on it, I know, since bad guys aren’t always people; they’re sometimes a tiny dowry or a first impression that never got shaken or a snow storm or … morning talk show hosts.
Every climax is different, but there are a few things that all (or at least most) climaxes have in common.
- The climax takes place at the very end of the book. And I mean it! Don’t make the book go on for ages and ages after the most exciting part has already happened! Everything after the climax is not going to be as good as the climax. Cut if off quickly! You don’t need a 40-page falling action. No! You don’t! A 5-page (or 5-paragraph) falling action will do just as well. Cut if off and move on to your next novel, leaving readers breathless.
- The climax ends the primary conflict. This is pretty self-explanatory. I don’t think I need to go into it.
- The climax is either the result of the main character’s epiphany or the push that gives the character said epiphany. In a murder-mystery novel, the detective realizes who the killer is and confronts him. In a romance, the hero declares his love to the heroine and the heroine realizes that she loves the hero.
Wait, she didn’t know all along? What a stupid heroine! I don’t want to read a book about her.Yep. That’s kind of my pet peeve. I can’t stand it in anyone but Scarlett O’Hara … and that doesn’t really count. Ok … moving on.
Some stories may have two “climaxes.” The first would be a faux climax. At the moment, I’m running blank on examples of actual books and movies, so … I’m going to make up my own! *everyone claps excitedly*
John is trying to find the Temple of Whatchadoin. He finds the temple. He defeats the bad guys who are steal the ancient artifacts in an action-packed battle (faux climax) and goes home to his museum to help with the displays. But, wait, there’s more! The curator at the museum has plans to make off with the artifacts himself! John must stop the man he thought was working with him all along from stealing the treasures which should belong to the world!
Tell me one of you is going to write that! It sounds *sarcastic voice* amazing!
Anyway, that’s an example of a faux climax. After we thought we’d tied up all the loose ends … PLOT TWIST!!!
How I love saying that.
To sum up …
- Climaxes are the most exciting point of the novel.
- They take place when two forces (good and evil) come together.
- They take place at the end (no, not in the middle).
- They end the primary conflict.
I believe I’ve talked about climaxes enough for today … perhaps enough for a long time. So I’m gonna let you guys go on with your lives.
Have a Happy Wednesday,