Okay weirdos…sorry to burst your bubble but we’re talking about plot here, not steamy times. I’m going to try my hardest to stray from my inner 12-year-old boy and not make any sex jokes throughout this post, but I’m sure plenty of innuendos will be present. So, have fun with this one.
For starters, what is a climax? (I’m already giggling, this isn’t going well for me.)
The climax of a book is when that conflict you’ve been building up to since page 1 finally explodes. And hopefully, in a way that has your readers yelling “WTF!” in eagerness rather than annoyance.
So, how exactly do you pull this off? This may sound like a no-brainer, but in truth, it’s not an easy process. There have been many a time where I have read a book where the climax fell painfully short for me, and there’s no need to get into how many times this happened in my own writing…
But anyway. Take these tips into account when tackling your own climax––writing your own climax––making your characters have a satisfying climax––ALL RIGHT I GIVE UP.
- The Underdog
Pile the odds against your protagonist. This will spike the anticipation for this scene and gear your readers up for a fight they will not want to turn away from. Your readers will want to know: How in the hell are they going to get out of this? Will they get out of this? Case in point: Harry Potter. 11-year-old boy or most powerful wizard there ever was? Did you keep reading? Hell yeah you did!
- Pile on the Evil
Whatever your antagonist is (character, government, weather, famine, disease) it has never been this terrible. As a reader, you know you hate when a character finally comes face to face with the villain and the loser curls up in a ball and begs for mercy. This? This is the guy we’ve been dreading, hating, fearing since chapter 1? Uh uh. Give your protagonist a real challenge! One that will have readers’ hearts palpitating out of their chests.
- Room for Failure
We all know we love when the protagonist nearly does not make it out. When they are on the floor bleeding out and we have a moment where we really don’t know if they are going to triumph. Don’t lie, you love this. We like to see determination and growth in our characters! If the resolution to the huge conflict of the book is basically handed to the protagonist, it’s going to fall flat. Or if they decide they don’t feel like getting up and facing the antagonist’s smug face readers are going to be pissed. Wouldn’t you be? This is the most anticipated part of your book! Don’t let it be over in two sentences. Give readers the chance to worry, to root for your hero’s comeback! Remember when Flynn Rider died and we all lost our minds? There you go.
Follow these steps and your climax will be climactic. Don’t wuss out here. Deliver. Don’t make your readers feel like they’ve wasted pages upon pages all in an effort to get to a peak that dwindles away and dies before their very eyes. You can do this!
Everyone loves giving advice on a good climax: