1. fantasywriter_m
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    fantasywriter_m New Member

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    Where to go from the climax?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by fantasywriter_m, Aug 28, 2009.

    I'm almost done with a fantasy-type novel, and they climax is... well, let's just call it a battle scene. Afterward there's kind of a moment of celebration, which peaks with a kiss. I think it might be boring to continue after that to explain the goodbyes, and how the characters come to the rest of their lives. Would it be tacky to start the next chapter with "Two years later..." and then just explain the characters' futures? Or, I could just continue the story unbroken, but paraphrase the boring travel and unimportant relationships that form between non-major characters, that are necessary for the future to be what I want it to be. Or I could spontaneously end it there, and leave the rest of the characters' lives to the imagination. Opinions? :)
     
  2. Vagabond284
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    Vagabond284 Member

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    Well, make sure you include SOME kind of denoument. If it goes climax -> end then the reader is left scratching their head going "okay, what next?"

    All the options you suggested work, or, of you want to continue the story, make the denoument end in a way that closes the book but leaves room for a sequel.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Every novel is different. Some work best ending at the climax, but others have a lot more story to tell after that point. An extreme example is Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. The climax accurs a little about three quarters through The Return of the King, leaving several chapters of events after the destruction of the One Ring. The denoument is a tale in itself, and serves not only to wrap up the stories of the various characters, but also to illustrate that war doesn't simply end. There are elements that persist, some which mustr still be fought, others that are never fully resolved.

    It's all a matter of what you are trying to convey.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is always the possiblity of an epilogue.

    Terry
     
  5. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    When you say "the future to be what I want it to be" does that mean that you are hoping for a sequel set in said future.

    If so, then I would probably have the celebration include hints of what each character plans to do next, rather than actually drag the story out showing it all, then when the sequel rolls around you can explain fully what they all did.

    On the other hand if that isn't your plan, then I'd say leave it up to the reader. Sometimes a story that ends with the sense that the characters will go on without us can be the most affecting of all.

    In either case, If the characters split up I would end with a leave-taking scene, milked for all the tears it's worth.

    Alternatively as Terry says you could end on an epilogue: All was well:D
     
  6. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't tie things up too much. Leave something open for the reader to form their own thoughts about the future. Stories that tie everything up entirely tend to feel done with, in the readers mind, which means they'll forget everything about it after THE END.
     
  7. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Like so many other aspects of writing, there really isn't a clear cut answer. I like Stephen King's idea on the matter, "Tell your story and then resist the tempation to go on". Once your climax is finished, ask yourself if the story you envisioned is finished. If it is, stop. If it isn't continue until it is - but not one word beyond.


    Damn, am I the only one that feels the more time you invest in writing the more it becomes like a zen koan?
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Indeed. He should take his own advice here. :)
     
  9. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    All you really need to do is show the reader what effect the climax had and what direction the characters might be headed afterward. The battle must have liberated some people, and that you would show with the calibration. And then where are you characters going now that it’s all over? Are they splitting up? Are they happy or sad, or a mixture of both? How do they feel about the future and passed events? The end.

    Cogito: Like the Dark Tower Series. It just seemed to ramble all over the place.
     
  10. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    There's examples of different stuff being tried all over the place, and none of them are guaranteed success or failure.

    The Dark Materials trilogy had a pretty immediate epilogue, which basically amounted to "think of the future"
    Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann had a "Twenty Years Later" epilogue, which showed how life went on while leaving the exact course of events to the audience's imagination
    I think I like Terry Pratchett's way of handling endings the most, though mostly because it suits his style of writing. He basically says "Imagine the future like this - it could be something else, but nothing ever really ends anyway"
     
  11. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    If you have left important questions unanswered you need an aftermath portion where you answer those questions.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That all depends on what you mean about important questions. All questions need not be answered. Some may be even lead into possible sequels.

    For each question, you should decide whether it really demands an answer. Then you can consider whether that answer can sneak its way in before the climax.

    Maybe you need to answer some questions after the climax. But just the existence of unanswered questions doesn't require answers.
     
  13. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    By important questions, I mean those questions that if left unanswered, you feel jipped. the story feels incomplete.
     
  14. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hate it when it feels like the last page had been torn out of the book, making me flip back and forth and look under my bed to see if it fell down there. On the other hand, these stories tend to haunt me the most after reading.
     
  15. Twisted Inversely
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    Twisted Inversely Senior Member

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    I agree. I also like the way he gives the reader little snapshots of what the minor and major characters are doing.
     
  16. HPandtheMI
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    HPandtheMI Member

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    I agree with architectus, just make sure there aren't to many questions left unanswered. Have you ever read A Series Of Unfortunate Events? I read them a couple of years ago... The entire series was GREAT! They were full of adventure, mystery, and suspense. But then they just ended. You don't even know who survived and who didn't.
     

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