1. ColinFry
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    ColinFry New Member

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    Creating a Climax

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ColinFry, Apr 17, 2011.

    This is my first post here so I apologize if this is put in the wrong area, or if I was supposed to do something else before posting here.

    I have this general idea for for a story I've started working on. It may be not particularly interesting, but I'll give a bit of background so I can get to my real question. It's kind of borrowed basically from A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and A Tell-Tale Heart by Poe.

    Essentially, I have this creature (I haven't decided if it's human or something else...) who has lived in the attic of this family's home as long as they have lived there. This creature is supposed to be a personification of sorts of the father's soul. The father outwardly is a very good man and no one suspects any of his crimes/sins (whatever you want to call it.) But this creature in the attic is physically affected by whatever the man does.

    So this creature has been trying to get the man's attention for a long time to make him stop. However, he hasn't been able to because in order for the man to be able to be in touch with his own soul, he has to have some sort of spiritual awakening and the less he thinks about his own afterlife/eternity (again whatever you want to call it) the less visible this creature can be to him. However, the contact isn't completely broken, so the man can feel that "something" is there, so he hears things that others don't hear etc. and starts to think the house is haunted.

    Fast forward a bit and events in the family's life makes the man temporarily open more to spiritual ideas and one thing leads to another, and the man discovers the creature in the attic. After the usual freaking out etc., we get down to dealing with the essential issue, that the man's actions affect the creature physically so now the man can see the consequences of what he is doing. The man is becoming paranoid, because now that he knows this creature exists and knows that his actions have consequences he can hear and see everything that the creature is going through and every sound that the creature is making in the attic. He doesn't want his family to discover the creature (even though they can't because it is visible to only him) and is distraught because even though he doesn't want to give up the wrong-doing that he engages in, he is struggling with how this is affecting the creature and is faced with either telling his family about his indiscretions and trying to repair his relationship with them, ignoring it and watching this creature suffer eternally in different ways that will be described in more detail throughout (but never die.) or try to kill the creature entirely, but the only way to do this is to basically kill his conscience to where he has no sense of right or wrong, so he would no longer care what he's doing to his family and would then lose them because of his actions. So he could get rid of having to deal with the creature any longer, but lose his family/friends in the process.

    I'm running out of steam by now trying to figure out which direction to take it next. I need an ultimate climax/conflict that decides how this thing ends, but I'm not certain how to go about it. I'd like for the man to end up admitting all his faults and clearing his conscience so that the creature returns to full health, and the man being admitted to a psych hospital for some sort of schizophrenia but that doesn't sound particularly exciting and I don't have an action/event that takes me there.

    Anyways, this will probably just end up in my never-ending pile of discarded ideas. But I've been reading on here for awhile and thought I might sign up and pose this question just in case anyone here was at all intrigued by even some element of the idea, and had a thought for what they might like to see happen.

    thanks :)
     
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  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Honestly my advice is to start writing the actual story - develop the characters build the sub plots.

    I have written a fair chunk of a novel before I have known how to end it before and often the ending comes when I least expect it - just kind of look up one day say, well that's it that is the story.

    It wasn't until I was 40K into my who dunnit style detective novel before the whodunnit started to reveal itself. Not everyone works well without a plan but if you are stuck you don't have anything to lose by trying it.

    This probably isn't the answer you really want to hear and you still want to bounce ideas feel free to do so, but just writing the story might be all you need to do.
     
  3. ColinFry
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    ColinFry New Member

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    Thank you :) yeah I've started and suspect that something will come up naturally. I just normally for other stories have at least the main conflict/climax worked out, and just need to get there. This time its the other way around where I have everything leading up to it, but don't know where its leading. So its unknown territory for me and I don't particularly like it :p I don't want to just throw something in there for no reason. Anyways, thanks again :)
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    lol way I see it there is nothing in writing you can't fix, tweak or delete as writers in 2010 we are blessed with a delete key and it is my favourite tool. It can make for a woolly first draft but has advantages too just be accepting of any rubbish written.

    I generally don't have as much planned as you do here or even a climax. But then there are days I am screaming wondering who the heck is the woman in the attic, where did I put the Earl - and then had to delete it anyway because I had murdered wrong person in wrong way. :)
     
  5. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Once you start writing, the climax tends to come naturally. I think you'll find it on your own once you're into the story.
     
  6. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I agree with Show and Elgaisma. It'll come together :D Sounds good by the way.
     
  7. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    Just start writing, often what the characters tell an author what will happen greatly supercedes a detailed pre game plan...ya dig ? There is no rule that states you must create in a lineral sense starting at once upon a time and never deviating until you reach your final sentence, the end, I in fact have a sense that the lifeless fiction that I hate was created in rigid, anal retentive structured minds.
     
  8. Hightower March
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    Hightower March New Member

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    I really like this idea. The physical manifestation of something ethereal, like his moral compass in this case, scratches me right where I itch.

    He doesn't want to give up doing wrong, though he's troubled by how it harms the attic-dweller. I'm not sure what suggestions I can make with this fueling the conflict, though I do like it. It seems like if it had less empathy and simply didn't care, he'd get rid of the thing and the problem would take care of itself--at the cost of turning him into a sociopath. Is there room for a fundamental alteration? What if his apparently charitable actions hurt the being? Some more complicated themes could be touched if that were the case; maybe he's only being "good" as an assertion of power instead of true kindness, and he's only able to realize this when it manifests negatively in the creature?
     
  9. ColinFry
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    ColinFry New Member

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    This is definitely part of what I was thinking. Some of the choices he makes which appear good to his family and others are really only made by him to benefit himself and his hidden immoral choices. And other things he believes he is doing because they are good is really done for some other reason (for random example... A charitable donation could be made for recognition instead of because one wants to support a cause, etc.). The true intentions of his actions are manifested in the creature so he comes to see the real result of his behavior, both the bad behavior as well as the good actions that come with bad intentions.)

    And yes to everyone else. I agree with the idea of just starting to write and seeing where it goes, but I don't want to throw a climax in their that looks like it was just thrown in there to make the story move along either. Anyways, thanks again :)
     
  10. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hey Colin Fry,

    First of all, your idea about the creature in the attic is awesome, and I agree that it should be nonhuman. (Or even nonhumanoid; some type of completely alien life form. It's even been said that space aliens are actually angels and demons, if you wanted to hint at that in any way.)

    This is just a random idea I have, you obviously don't have to use it, but....what if, as the guy does things that hurt the creature, it changes in a way that makes it more powerful in a monstrous way, i.e. more dangerous, and at a certain point it will be able to eat him or drag him to hell or some other horrid fate? Aside from the obvious point of how that's relevant to your MC because he'd want to shape up and avoid the fate, it could also be used to make the creature itself seem kind of piteous (that's not the right word..but something you can feel sorry for), like if it used to be a humanlike creature or a person but is changed into this evil being against its will. Perhaps for a punishment of its own for something.

    Good luck, and this sounds like a really cool project! Feel free to PM me if you want a review or just more help!
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like that idea for a story :) it sounds really interesting.
     

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