How To Write A Gut-Wrenching Climax [NaNoWriMo]

The climax of a novel is this big point in the story where everything either comes together in a way or comes apart. Big things happen and keep the readers wanting to read more and turning the pages.

The climax typically happens towards the end. It’s like the big finish before the grand wrap-up of the story.

Climaxes can be tricky. You want them to be exciting like fireworks to your readers. There are multiple ways to do this.


The climax can do a number of things, but here are four we’ll talk about today:

1. Showcase the internal conflict

There should always be something going on with your protagonist. Is there a reason they’re on this specific journey? What’s their motive for wanting to complete this story? What internal troubles are they having throughout the story?

During the climax is usually when the protagonist has some sort of epiphany or moment of truth about themselves. It’s a moment of clarity for them and most likely for the readers as well.

2. Showcase the external conflict

Similar to the internal conflict, this is sort of a moment of truth for a sub-plot or even for the major plot. Something can happen between two characters or something can happen between the protagonist and the antagonist.

3. Prepare for the falling action

The falling action is, basically, what happens after the climax. Something big happens and then what? Everything has a reaction to it, what happens next? When the protagonist defeats the antagonist, what happens? What about if someone dies during the climax? What are the consequences?

4. Allowing a surprise or twist

Anything I mentioned above can happen, of course, but what if you added something a little extra to it? Throw something from left field. You can either incorporate the surprise into the climax or you can build up to one final mystery and then throw in a twist in the falling action.

Overall, the beginning and most of the middle of the story is a build-up to the climax, so you want to make it a good one. After all, what else are your readers waiting for?

How do your climaxes typically go? Do you have any other ways you utilize the climax of your stories? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

12 thoughts on “How To Write A Gut-Wrenching Climax [NaNoWriMo]

  1. Good points, Rachel! And it comes at the perfect time for me, as this is exactly the problem I’m having with my NaNo novel. Having figured out that my outline wasn’t actually for one (apparently ridiculously long) book but in fact, a trilogy, I have to end the first book in the next chapter or two… But I didn’t plan for a big climactic scene here, uh-oh! So I have to somehow make the wedding either the climax scene (adding more conflict) or add a climax scene before it and make the wedding the denouement (and take out some of the conflict that’s there). The arcs for the newly-planned second and third books contain good climactic scenes already from the original outline, but this one is trickier. Ah well, I’ll figure it out this weekend. Whee!

    • Thanks!
      You’ll definitely figure it out. I don’t know what’s happened in your book so far, but I do think a wedding would be perfect after a big climax… then again, it’d be so interesting for something to happen during the wedding!
      Let me know how it goes!

      • Some stuff is definitely happening during the wedding, and afterward too. The trick is getting a big climax scene before the wedding. I’m trudging through the first draft and it’s not totally clicking, but whatever, it’s the first draft: hopefully I can fix it in revisions.

Let me know your thoughts!

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