It’s NaNoWriMo. Who Doesn’t Love a Good Climax?

November 19, 2014

This month I’m bringing you a series of blogs to honor NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.  We’re talking about the 5 parts of a story to illustrate how you can write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  In the first week, we talked about the exposition of a story (the beginning), and last week, we got into some conflict to talk about the rising action of a story.

And finally, we are ready to climax.

Or rather our characters are.

Climax

A Countess Most DaringIn romance, this is often referred to as the dark moment because it’s the moment when the hero and heroine believe all is lost.  Remember that goal we talked about last week?  This is the moment when the hero or heroine believes he or she will never achieve that goal.  It is also a moment when their beliefs in other characters or foundations of the story are rocked.  It really is a dark moment.  For Katharine Cavanaugh in A Countess Most Daring, her dark moment is standing on a ship as it pulls her further and further away from the man she loves.  And since we’ve been talking about Gone with the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara’s black moment is when Bonnie Butler and Melanie Wilkes die, revealing to both Rhett and Scarlett what they really wanted most.

So let’s recap, you have a character who may or may not have bulging muscles.  This character has a goal he is motivated to accomplish but there is a series of events that prevent him from reaching this goal and exhibit his internal and external conflicts.  And just when he thinks he’s making progress, something catastrophic happens to make him believe he will never reach his goal.

That is your next 10,000 words in this novel, and we have just crested 30,000 words.  That doesn’t leave us much room for the happily ever after.  Stay tuned for next week’s installment to talk about the downside of the story arc, or falling action.  (Original, I know, but we writers need to spend our creativity on more important things like our hero’s bulging biceps.)  See you next week!

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