Plot - Climax

climax plot Apr 07, 2021

When readers think about story Climaxes, we often think of really epic events like bloody battles and tragic deaths, or of big heartbreaks and the downfall of heroes. But remember that your Climax is the culmination of your story’s Conflicts. The crescendo of the primary Conflict of your story will likely result in the most significant moment, but there are other conflicts that will also come to lesser peaks.


In the novel Little Children by Tom Perrotta, multiple characters living in the suburbs try to carve out lives that may not resemble their earlier dreams and ambitions. There are affairs and betrayals, pornographic fantasies and middle-aged men and women attempting to relive their youths. These suburbanites happen to coexist within the same community as a child sex predator. The biggest moment in the story – THE Climax as it were – is one that involves Ronnie the predator, succumbing to his darkest instincts. But there are also lesser Climaxes – trysts that get derailed, lost friendships, and mean girl judgements that resemble petty high school grievances, as well as characters making choices they wouldn’t have imagined before. The ultimate Climax of this story isn’t the bloody scene in the park with Ronnie, but the reality of adulthood. Youth is fleeting and many of us don’t make the most of it while we can. We can fight it, or we can accept our age with grace and dignity.

The Climax of your story may not be a sweeping skyrise fire, the exorcism of demons, or the valiant death of a war leader. It may simply be a moment – surprising but simple - that calls your characters to accept what they cannot change.

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