Let’s start with the basics.
Is writing the climax of a book extremely nervewracking and likely to bring on bouts of Distraction Syndrome? Yes.
Does writing the climax bring about monumental character development that shocks even the writer sometimes? Of course!
Is the climax the most important part of the story? If most cases… duh.
But when you’ve planned it carefully, writing the climax can be less terrifying and go a lot more smoothly than you would guess.
Here are my top tips on climax writing:
1. Plan it out. If there’s a villain involved, have their scheme down to a science. How will the hero/heroes escape/defeat them/etc? Make sure you write down every detail and have it ready to reference while you’re writing. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll have a much easier time actually doing it.
2. Connect with your characters. Take some time before beginning the climax and read through some of your old scenes. Try and get a feel for what makes your characters tick; get inside their heads, try and write them doing what you think they would do in the situation you put them in. A good way to get to know your characters is to write short stories with them for your own enjoyment. Another interesting exercise is write a brief scene where you get to meet your own characters. How would they react?
3. Take every precaution to avoid cliches. In the heat of the story, scribbling feverishly to get finished, cliches can often occur. Since the climax tends to be the most action-packed part of the story, this is the part you need to be most careful about avoiding cliches. Don’t have the villain explain their plan only to be foiled by the hero’s knowledge. Avoid deathrays and last-minute fail safes. And whatever you do, NEVER have the hero yell “You’ll never get away with this!” We all know they won’t, genius. I mean seriously, if you say that then a happy ending is inevitable.
4. Choose a time to write, and then do it. My biggest problem when writing the climax is making excuses to get out of it. These include “I’m not in the mood to write,” “I should probably eat first,” and “Hey, I haven’t cleaned the bathroom in a while!” (If you’re at this point, wouldn’t you really rather write anyhow?) Set a time to write and decide how much you’re going to do beforehand. I always try to get in about a chapter before taking a break to read and recharge. How much you write is your own choice, but don’t be flexible with your time. If you say you’re going to write at 2:00, sit your butt down in a chair at 2:00 and get typing.
Thoughts on writing the climax of a story?