Your protagonist has been doing her/his best throughout your story sometimes chasing red-herrings, but always trying to stay on course, and fighting to find the solution to the problem that threatens her happiness. The climatic scene then has to present your protagonist with a choice.
THE CHOICE. This choice tests your character’s soul. This choice is the biggest deal of the entire book, the choice that will make or break your story.
Your character has to make a decision that shows her true SELF not only to the other characters in the book, but to those faithful readers who have followed your protagonist through hundreds of pages, read every chance they had, and lost sleep worried for her. You owe them. So what about this choice? Let’s break it down.
The choice is:
- Pivotal to the story
- Demands action
- Once made cannot be undone
Don’t be afraid to let your character suffer just before this final decision. Remember the saying--it’s always darkest before the dawn--it applies here. This is also a great place to balance emotion with action. Help your reader feel your character's pain. This moment should also be the big reveal, where all the secret facts are put before your character. So there’s going to be a lot of feeling.
A word of warning: the climatic scene and how your character acts must be believable and logical. Make sure you’ve laid the foundation so that the climax gives the reader fulfillment.
If you’re writing a series you don’t have to fulfill all the expectations of your reader. Think of the Harry Potter series. At the end of book one “he who must not be named” was still at large, but do give your reader a wind down.
The end should also have a quick wrap up. All issues have been resolved and everyone lives “happily-ever after.” This should be short, sweet and fulfilling.
Now, not all stories have a “happy-ever-after”. I remember reading a book where the ending was very sad. Some readers like that. Some authors like that, too. And there’s nothing wrong with it. You have to decide what kind of story you want to be known for and go for it. Just remember that with everything you write you’re branding your name. Branding your name…a good subject to talk about next week.
So I’ve told you what I thought about the climax, what do you think? What else is needed in the climatic scene of a book?