Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Let’s Talk about Writing: Part Three – Climax & Conclusion

Let’s Talk about Writing:
Part Three – Climax & Conclusion
Continuing in my three-part series focused on getting back to the basics of writing, in my last post I focused the importance of language and dialogue. 

Now that you have strong characters and your use of language and dialogue add to your story, you will need to continue to develop the plot and move the story along to its natural ending.  With each new event in your story, the excitement builds as you get closer to revealing the dramatic payoff for the reader.  A story's climax heightens when it seems like all is lost and the protagonist isn't going to win.  This is when the main character has to make their big decision.  At this point, the reader should be on the edge of his or her seat, wondering what the protagonist will choose to do and what will happen after the choice is made.

Just when the protagonist is about to make his or her final decision, an idea might come to mind that he or she hadn't considered before, or the antagonist makes a fatal error, or perhaps there's a loophole the character conveniently leaps through. This is the point where things are turned around for the protagonist character, and either they are about to achieve an ultimate goal, or the character realizes something that ends up being more important than achieving the goal.   At this point in your story, the goal has been either resolved or abandoned, depending on your plot decisions.

While it may be convenient to allow someone or something to come in and rescue the protagonist; the protagonist must be the one to take care of his or her own problem.  This is where the character learns something important about himself or herself.  Someone who was meek might discover that she has strength. A pessimist might find himself a little more optimistic.  This growth is the payoff for your reader.  

As you relate events that occur after the character achieves his or her goal, you are entering the falling action and you are now ready to write your conclusion.  As a reader, I personally don’t like everything tied up in a perfect little bow, but I do appreciate it when I can see how each of the events of the story all come together for a larger meaning.  It is important to come back to any unfinished business earlier in the story.  The conclusion of your story needs to let the reader know how your character has changed. In fact, the last sentence is just as important as the first sentence of your story. Your job is to end the story with something the reader will carry long after she has finished reading it.

It all sounds so very simple....but as any good writer will tell you, it is much easier said than done.  

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