Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Quick Take: Climax = Convergence

Written By: Jessica Morrell - May• 27•14

The climax in fiction is the mountain top, the battle, the declaration of love—where the story has been heading http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-railway-tracks-image19768464all along, when the protagonist’s goal is achieved or denied, and the future is established. The major problem in the story is resolved and the scene contains intense emotions. It’s also the final turning point and can contain a revelation, a victory, a loss, a realization, an exposé. The foundation for the climax has been laid all through the story and the story question, established in the inciting incident, is answered in an unexpected way.
• In the film Titanic, Rose escapes her old life and takes a chance with Jack and the other passengers in steerage.
• In the film The King’s Speech King George IV gives an important speech about England’s involvement in the coming war as Logue coaches him from the sidelines.
• In The Shawshank Redemption Andy Dupree escapes from the prison.

Every story is made up of both a protagonist’s internal and external conflict. The inciting incident throw the protagonist off balance, upsets his inner world. His or her internal conflict stands in the way of resolving the story question and problem. In the climax these forces converge and the protagonist is revealed under the harshest light because it’s the toughest test.
• Rose resolves her loyalty to her family versus her need for an authentic life.
• King George IV decides to trust a commoner who knows him better than authorities around him.
• Andy realizes that the corrupt warden values his services too much to allow justice in his case.

This convergence is always highlighted in romance plots when the couple overcomes their inner conflicts to face a new world together. There is always only way forward once the inner conflict is resolved. Plan for this convergence when you start writing your novel.

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