1. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    length of climax

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by AJSmith, May 5, 2011.

    Is there an average or recommended climax length, and if so, what is that range?

    I've just finished the first draft of my climax, and it's about 6K. I flew through it, just trying to get everything down, so I know there will be quite a bit of length added (I would guess 1/3 more), but I have no idea if this is an adequate range.

    It seems that a lot of books I've read, the climax is in fact pretty quick, but feedback would be very helpful.

    Thanks. :)

    edit: The length of the draft (minus the brief conclusion.. still to be written) is about 95K...don't know if that factors in.
     
  2. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    The Climax is arguably the most important part of the story, because that's what everything has been building up to so is the ultimate release of energy in a sense, so it should be whatever length it needs to be.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it can be a single short sentence, or a whole chapter... there is no 'right' and 'wrong' and no 'best' length... just what works best for each story...
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    For men or for women?




    The Devil made ne do it...
     
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  5. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I personally hate short climaxes. I mean, they shouldn't drag on pointlessly, but often you wait for something great and suddenly it's just over (and damn you Cog, now I can't get my head out of the gutter!)

    Take Wizard of Earthsea, a book I guess is quite known. The ending made me hate the whole story. Not only was it EXACTLY what I predicted it would be over a hundred pages earlier, but it was just over. Even if it was predictable, it could have been done great and exciting, but no. I think it was like one page (might be exaggerating).
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I broke down my latest novel into sections - not chapters or anything official. Just something for me. I divided it into actions and lulls - basically when the character is on an adventure, and when they are dealing with domestic issues. All the parts averaged ... actually, I think I have the break down on this computer:

    Opening:

    9,395

    Introduction to quest:

    12,391

    Research trip:

    5,435

    First Adventure:

    14,478

    Romance subplot:

    10,806

    Second Adventure:

    10,577

    Faffing around before 3rd Adventure:

    11,663

    Third Adventure:

    16,136

    Fourth Adventure:

    13,808

    Dramatic climax:

    11,923

    Peaceful Ending:

    8,114


    Don't know about anyone else, but seeing the numbers really puts things in perspective. :p I like the ones towards the end, but the "faffing around" section could probably do with either turning into another adventure or losing 5,000 words. :p

    Point is, compare the size of the sections - the last 3 sections are all drama in larger and larger chunks leading into the climax, so there's a long section with few breaks to sit around and drink tea.

    I know it's just one novel, not a break down of three thousand successful books, but I think it's a pretty good story, and it might help to see the numbers. :p Just sharin' 'cause I had them on hand.
     
  7. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am sure many of us had the same question. :p

    Anyway, I think how long the climax should be is something that only the author can know and sometimes the exact boundaries of the climax aren't totally black and white.
     
  8. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    lol :D

    For a book ;) I think the climax should be however long it needs to be for it to make sense and work. It's different for every book I think.
     
  9. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    However long the story requires it to be, to make sense. So basically, whatever you need will do quite fine.
     
  10. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I have never heard a such rule where you have to have a certain amount of climax length on a single book. But as for me, I often have one scene that reveals the big thing or tells the climax of the story, and not just for the entire chapter.
     
  11. Leatherworth Featherfist
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    Leatherworth Featherfist Member

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    Make it as long as you see fitting for now; chances are, you will end up shortening it when you edit.
     
  12. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    Haha... I knew that was going to come up when I wrote this, but I was so sleepy I just didn't care. :)

    Anyway, Melzaar... thanks. I like the idea of breaking it down like that. Actually, my last section leading up to the ... let's call it the 'turning point', is quite long and not much action. I'm actually afraid to look at the word count on that one... I know it needs pruning.

    I figured there was no rule about length. I just wrote what needed to be written, but I was just curious.
     
  13. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    Weirdly enough, I luv them. I love it when all comes together by a simple last sentence.... and I bow to the author if I didn't see it coming.
     

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