Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The End=The Choice

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the beginning of a book and how to start your story with change that comes into your character’s life. Last week was about the middle of your story and how your character needs to climb the story mountain. So this week we'll focus on the end of your story, the climatic scene and what needs to take place.

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.
Yes, there have been many choices made all through the story, but this choice is 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
All through your story your protagonist has been waging a war against danger and now the climax needs to deliver. The battle is nearly over and your hero must do the ultimate task to win. Will she be steadfast holding to truths she reveres as sacred or will she fold? It’s up to you.

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?


  1. It's so important to draw attention to reading, and attract reluctant readers to it, especially boys. In fact, I've recently completed a feature magazine article on this subject that came out in October, "Help for Struggling, Reluctant Readers."

    I grew up as a reluctant reader, in spite of the fact that my father published over 70 books. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for tween boys, that avid boy readers and girls enjoy just as much.

    My blog, Books for Boys is dedicated to drawing attention to the importance of reading. And my new book, Lost Island Smugglers - first in the Sam Cooper Adventure Series - is coming out in July-August. Contracts are also signed for Captain Jack's Treasure and River Rampage.

    Keep up your good work.

    Max Elliot Anderson
    PS. My first 7 books are going to be republished by Comfort Publishing later in 2010

  2. Well said! I'm not sure I can put it any better than that!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. Have a great weekend!

  3. Understand. I will think your suggestions before write something. Thanks