In the fiction space, there are several key factors that help authors create great stories. The characters must be fully developed, for instance, and the plot clearly defined. Most fiction novels also contain a central turning point where the protagonist in the story confronts the opposing force (antagonist). The literary term for this is “climax.” Successful fiction authors know how to pique readers’ interest by taking them on a journey (rising action), which builds to a climax, then descends into a falling action and solution.
Three famous novels provide perfect examples for the literary use of a climax. The stories differ from one another in era and genre. If you hope to become a fiction writer, it’s a good idea to read these and other novels that have distinct climaxes. Comparing them and studying how the authors weave their tales can help you improve your writing skills.
Popular novels with great climaxes
The authors of the fiction books included in the following list are masters of climax:
- Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, a letter read aloud in a courtroom
- Holes, by Louis Sachar, the discovery of a treasure
- The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy, a hunted man and a disguise to evade capture
Each of these classics leads the reader on an ascent to a scene that revelation that forever-changes the lives of the characters in the story. They have a clear rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.
Things to remember when developing the climax in your story
Writing a good climax can be challenging. Keep these tips in mind:
- Aim to emotionally engage the reader and help him or her to feel what the protagonist in your story is feeling.
- Don’t rush through the climax head-on into the resolution. Remember, there needs to be a falling action in between the two.
- Try to be unpredictable.
To write a good climax, you must first set a pace, then carefully build up to an obvious turning point. Think of it as the cherry on top of a sundae. What you don’t want to do is confuse your readers or disappoint them. Instead, you want the climax to be the point in your story when all the other themes, details, questions and subplots come to a hilt.
Spend time reading various styles of writing to develop your skills
The best writers are always avid readers. While you must ultimately develop your own, unique writing style, it’s helpful to read and consider many other stories. There’s always something to learn about writing in reading. If you’re currently working on a book, it’s helpful to ask someone to read it and provide constructive feedback.