Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Climax

I am on page 168 of my revision. I'm running about five pages ahead of my first draft at this point in the story.

It also means that I am about to reach the climax. The image above is Freytag's classic pyramid. I remember learning this in English class in high school. Freytag came up with this after studying ancient Greek dramas and Shakespeare.

Plotting has never really been my strong suit when it comes to writing. I think for a long time I thought it was the list of events that occurred in the story and not really a moving forward of the plot. If I was more of a plotter, then I think endings would've come easier to me.

The further into this rewrite I get, the more analyzing I am doing. I've been trying to think of what is the climax of this story; or, which climax is The Climax.

I've got:

  • The payoff on the 'Alexandra is an impulsive tomboy' arc
  • The 'we have different mothers?' storyline
  • Either the formation of or the breakup of Miles' ill-advised affair 
  • The village racist learns about the affair and uses it against Miles
  • Miles meets with his irascible father
Because it's a novel, there are several arcs and subplots going on at the same time. And maybe, in reality, all of these dramatic scenes make up the climax together. So maybe this model of dramatic structure is more appropriate:
I'll have to see what the AbsoluteWrite forums say about plotting and climaxes. Meanwhile, what's the climax of your story, if you're writing one? And do you think most novels have more than one climax or not?

4 comments:

  1. Sometimes my books look more like a mountain range, with the climax as a slightly higher peak. Is that bad?

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    1. I don't think that's bad, no, as long as you have a definable climax. I suspect that in a lot of literary fiction, there probably isn't a climax. My problem at the moment is not knowing which climax is the climax for the main storyline and which ones are secondary.

      My book is probably a mountain range, too. :)

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  2. I agree that the second model is more accurate - if the climax would happen in the middle, after that the book would be quite slow and boring. In terms of choosing your climax: decide which is your main story plot (which will be your climax) and which are sub-plots (which can be resolved after or before the climax). If they are tightly intertwined you could also get them all resolved at the same time to make an explosive climax ;)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Katharina. I'm seeing those peaks in the not-too-far distance. I think most of the storylines are mostly intertwined, so I'll have see what I can do in terms of structure as I get further in. The first draft gets a little busy and messy toward the end.

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Thank you so much for your comments and thoughts. Check back soon. I reply to all comments. Happy reading!