While this has to do with stock trading, it is also a good example of a story map. You should build up to the climax of your story, and then take a little time (a chapter usually, two at most) to let your readers down gently.

Okay, so by now you should have a story outline done up to the middle of your story, and you should have an idea of what the end of the story is going to be. However, there is a very, very important spot between the middle and the end that needs to be story-boarded. Honestly I probably should have mentioned this before now, but I completely forgot about it. Anyway… your story needs to have a climax. A lot of people, especially new writers, mistake the end of the story with the climax, but you generally shouldn’t end your story with your climax. It can be done, but it is only rarely effective.

Your climax should be the high point of your story. For instance, in Empire Strikes Back the climax of the movie is Luke’s confrontation with Vader in Cloud City. In The Avengers the viewer gets both an extended climax (the battle in New York City) and an immediate climax (Iron Man taking the nuclear missile through the portal). Other stories, such as The Dark Night, the viewer is given a dual climax: the first is Batman’s confrontation with the Joker at the top of the unfinished skyscraper, and the second is Batman’s confrontation with Harvey Dent in the parking garage. You’ll notice that none of these is actually the end of the story.

So, this is your assignment today. You get to come up with the climax of your story. This should be the scene that the entire story is building to. Think of it as the opposite of a thesis statement. Both a thesis statement and a climax need to be a microcosm of the entire work in which they appear. However, a thesis statement appears at the beginning of a paper, and it presents the central point that the paper is trying to prove. A climax appears at the end of a story, and it is the point to which the entire story has been building. Also, you should never begin a paper with your thesis statement (introductions exist for a reason) because the reader feels lost and confused, you should never end a story with a climax because it will leave your readers feeling abandoned and unfulfilled.

You might have made the mistake of making the ‘end’ of your story the climax instead. This is easy to do, we’ve all done it, but it’s still a bad idea. If you did this, then you have a different assignment. You already know what the climax of your story is, so take some time to figure out how it ends.

One thought on “Plot Challenge of the Week

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