How the heck do I write a novel in 30 days???
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Today we’re going to talk about climax. No, it’s not what you think.
Well, maybe it is.
You were thinking about the climax of your novel, right?
Okay, good. Just checking.
Now, the climax of your novel should typically be the most fascinating and interesting part. It should be so exciting that the words are just flying onto the page without you doing much. This probably means that it’s an exciting, engaging point, which is exactly what it should be. But how do you get your novel to that point?
Well, first, let’s examine what a novel climax really is. Traditionally it has been considered the moment of greatest emotional tension in a story and the point at which the protagonist’s fortunes turn. Alternately, it can be considered under the light of whether the protagonist will reach his or her story goal, which typically involves a decision to change himself or her behaviour.
The climax should be the culmination of the main story you have been building from the first chapter, but it need not be exciting. It can be dramatic as well, and in many cases this is even better. Either way, the climax is the point of greatest conflict, where all the small obstacles you have put in your protagonist’s path suddenly come together in to one frightening ball of doom. Now your character has a choice to make. Will he change in the face of these obstacles? Or will she stay the same? Only you can tell us.
There are two classical types of novels: comedy and tragedy. No, these don’t mean funny and sad, necessarily. In a comedy, your main character reaches all of his or her desired goals and the story has what is often called a “happy” ending. In a tragedy, your main character doesn’t reach all of his or her goals and the story has a “sad” ending. Of course, there can be middle ground between these two options, such as a tragi-comedy (where the protagonist fails to achieve the goal, but this turns out to be a good thing) or the comi-tragedy (where the goal is achieved but the protagonist’s success turns out to be a bad thing).
Whichever ending you pick, remember that the climax and conclusion of your novel should be consistent with the characters and the world you have developed. Ideally (although not necessarily) it should tie-up the novel’s loose ends, themes, and occurrences.
It has been said that “your beginning sells this novel – but it’s your climax that sells the next.”
Make it a good one.
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