Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Writing Tip Tuesday

Okay, so you've set your story up, giving the reader some backstory, revealed the central question, and nailed a catalyst (inciting incident) to get the story going. Then you've moved the story along, scene by scene, each scene revolving around the central question. You've tossed in a few turning points to keep the pace and tension up. (All these discussed earlier...)

Now you're there....

at the climax.

I only have three significant things to say about the climax:

  1. It must answer the central question or solve the problem raised in the setup.
  2. It needs to happen just before the resolution.
  3. Once you reach the climax, get the heck out of the story.
That last rule is so important, I'm going to repeat it:

Once you reach the climax, get the heck out of the story.


You're done.


Close the book and go home.

Do not linger, dawdle, or loiter.

The reader doesn't want to hear from you any more.

Got it?

Nothing will ruin the ending of your story more than continuing on longer than you need to -

- and once you have reached the climax, the only thing that's needed is the resolution, which I'll discuss next week.

P.S. To give you an example: In Moonpie and Ivy, the climax of the story is when Pearl's mother returns. From that point on, the story moves very quickly - almost racing to the end. But I knew that the climax created an emotional impact that would have been diffused or totally lost if I had gone on much longer after that. I knew I had to GET OUT OF THAT STORY. So they got in the car and drove away. The End. No loitering for me.


Megan Germano said...

Passing this on for your viewing pleasure. You may have already seen it...

Barbara O'Connor said...

Thanks, Megan! No, I hadn't seen that. How nice!

TamraW said...

Great tips . . .

and even greater illustration of those tips! LOL