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Insights on writing an effective climax scene?

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Physa/ Guthington/ Amy
(@physa)
Posts: 297
Gold Member
Topic starter
 

I'm currently struggling with the climax scene of my Q2 and am wondering if any of you have any tricks of the trade to share. Specific questions below:

what percentage of the story should a good climax scene be?

how can I make sure my main character is being proactive, is the change agent?

how can I make sure my mc has feelings of doubt, staring into the abyss, without disrupting the action?

how can I use the climax scene to help mc overcome emotional wound/ major weakness?

how can I show what the mc is willing to sacrifice in writing a climax scene?

what other questions should I be answering in a satisfying climax scene?

WOTF results:
Before Moon's Vol 39 challenge, 6 R's: Vol 31 Q3, Vol 33 Q3, Vol 35, Q4, Vol 37 Q3 and Q4, and Vol 38 Q3.
Vol 39: Q1 RWC, Q2 HM, Q3 HM, Q4 HM
Vol 40: Q1 P
IOTF results:
Vol 39: Q1 HM, Q2 R, Q3 HM, Q4 HM
Vol 40: Q1 P
According to Winston Churchill, "success is going from failure to failure with enthusiasm"
Somehow I lost my Guthington profile, but it's me. Amy Wethington = Guthington = Physa

 
Posted : February 12, 2022 6:18 am
Joe Benet
(@joe-benet)
Posts: 75
Bronze Star Member
 
Posted by: @physa

what percentage of the story should a good climax scene be?

Samples from an unknown (i.e., me): 1175/15350 words = 7.5% (emotional climax scene). 550/4950 words = 11% (includes the denouement, which is difficult to separate, but if you made me, climax drops to 335 words = 6.7%). 3050/9300 words = 33% Smile (action climax scene). 1450/6800 words = 21% (action)

 

how can I make sure my mc has feelings of doubt, staring into the abyss, without disrupting the action?

Most of that is done earlier, eh? Some ideas for during the climax though: internal thoughts like "let's see if this works", "I can't believe that worked", "time to make my last act on earth memorable". Narration like "Phase one of climatic plan started as planned. MC rode the tour bus like a spectator waiting for the first surprise to jump into the middle of the road."

 

what other questions should I be answering in a satisfying climax scene?

Does this awesome scene matter if my first 450 words shift my piece to the reject pile?

Is there a clear victor, or is a draw with losses on all sides the only achievement?

Did MC overcome a character flaw?

 

HMx8
SHMx1 (Q2'22)

 
Posted : February 12, 2022 11:00 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Posts: 915
Gold Star Member
 

For an effective climax I would take a look at payoff. Don’t worry about word count on the first draft - worry about a complete story. The climax should be the highest stakes moment of the story. I’ve often found in my own writing that when I am struggling with the climax, it’s because I haven’t laid a strong enough foundation in the try-fail cycles/escalating stakes and conflict. If you know what the climax should be and it isn’t paying out, consider looking at the previous scenes for escalation and emotional investment. 

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V36: R,HM,HM,SHM
V37: HM,SF,SHM,SHM
V38: (P)F, SHM, F, F
V39: SHM, SHM, HM, SHM
Pro’d out Q4V39
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Posted : February 13, 2022 8:47 am
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