The climax scene, that is. We’ve been thinking about scenes, and writing our novels in scenes, for some time as a way to improve all aspects of our books, and this week we will focus on the highest point of action and drama.
First off, the climactic scene is the final turning point of action in your novel. Everything, every action, every bit of subterfuge, every red herring, every twist, and turn, leads to the climax scene. And once the climax is over, it’s your job as the author to tie up all the loose ends quickly after the climax and leave the reader satisfied. The climax is the grand finale.
So what happens in the climactic scene?
- It’s the main battle scene
- Dichotomous forces collide
- Your protagonist and antagonist encounter each other
- The climactic action relates to the most important plot line
- This is where your protagonist is changed through conflict (internal and/or external)
- These are the highest stakes in the story. It’s life and death. Your main character must win or die
- The pacing is fast
- The emotions are high
Open the scene with impending action. The easiest way to do this is to leave your prior scene in suspense. The reader may not know exactly what will happen in the climax, but there are absolutely clear that it is upon them. Things are coming to a head.
In your climactic scene, get to the action quickly. Build the action steadily with the goal of bringing all the conflict to a logical highpoint. Test your characters. Push them. Remember it is the all or nothing, live or die moment. Because of this moment, your character will be forever changed. The climax should be life altering.
And then your character is through to the other side. They won.
Now wrap up all of your loose ends and get out of there with your final scene which we will discuss next time.