Thursday, June 3, 2010

What do you do after your climax?

And DON'T be gross. I mean the climax of your story, the high action or drama sequence that brings all the disparate elements of the story together in one grand big bang. The part that readers will stay up until four in the morning reading because they NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. Not that I have any experience hiding in the bathroom with a flashlight curled up in the bathtub so my parents wouldn't see the light.

But as we all know, that's not the end of the story. That's the end of the story arc, but then you have the clean up. Even Shakespeare sent Prince Fortinbras in after Hamlet up and caused a massacre (sorry if I ruined the end for you. Also: the ship sank). But really, peoples, how do you follow up a climax? If you've done it right, both you and the reader should feel excited, exhausted, catharsed (word? it is now), heartbroken, vindicated, or any number of deep, abiding emotions. That's like having to be the person to give a talk after The Last Lecture guy. So what's the follow up?

As you might have guessed, I just recently finished writing the climax of my WIP. It was an exhausting process, pulling all of that out of me, and definitely led to some 4K word days, but it was glorious. So glorious, in fact, that the P-i-C got ticked at me because I gave him a chapter to read that ended in a cliffhanger and he refused to read anything until it was done because he wanted to know what happened. So. Fun.

But now I need to wrap things up. There's still more story to tell, and the fallout to deal with, and the set up for subsequent books (book one of an intended trilogy). But I'm feeling...drained. Much like my MC. She's all like, "what do I do now?" and I'm all like, "I don't know, what do I do now?" And we're at a stalemate.

So how do you follow up your climax without feeling like you're just sweeping everything in a nice neat pile to be picked up with the dust bin? How do you follow up such emotional scenes, staying true to the drama that's just happened but still driving the story forward?


Kimberly Franklin said...

That's a very good question, one I haven't come to yet in my WIP and would love to hear other people processes for. I think one of the best things to do would be to read the endings of your favorite books/series and take ideas and tips from them. But that's my answer for everything. LOL. :)

Lola Sharp said...

Since I read that you finished (in your recent post), clearly you found your way. And honestly, THAT's the advice I would have given. For me, there is no's an organic experience, different to each book. Sometimes I know ahead how it will wrap up. Sometimes I think I know, but it changes. More often, I have no idea and it just comes together the way it should when I get there. I'm not a big "neat and tidy ending' girl, usually.