How to Write the Climactic Battle

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

I’ve been doing a breakdown of the Three-Act Story structure, and this article is about the final plot point of the third and final act in the Three-Act Story Structure; The Climactic Battle or Climactic Confrontation.

Finally, you’ve reached to end of your novel, but how you end your novel would determine if your story ends strong and makes an impact or if it ends up disappointing the readers and leaving them without any hunger for any more of your works. That wouldn’t be very nice, given the fact that you’ve built up the story and made it captivating up until this moment.

So how do you end your novel and write the final climactic battle? We’re going to discuss what makes a climax captivating and look into the brain science behind writing the end of your novel. So without further ado, let’s get right into it!

The Big Misconception About How a Story Should End

Do you know why many writers fail to write a great, riveting and compelling climax? It’s because most writers are too focused on keeping their climax exciting and engaging. But in the end, they end up doing quite the opposite and write a climax that readers wouldn’t really care about.

This is because many people think that to make the end exciting and engaging, there have to be many thrilling activities that keep the readers’ adrenaline pumped.

Unfortunately, adrenaline isn’t the cause but the effect of a reader’s interest. What do I mean?

What I mean is that the readers would not find the climax of a story interesting if all it does is make things look flashy to get the reader excited; however, the reader would end up being excited and interested in your climax if you can keep their interest. The adrenaline would naturally pump.

Think about it; if every climax is supposed to keep readers at the edge of their seats with flashy activities like epic sword fights and gun battles, then every contemporary novel should be boring, right?

If external conflict was the secret to delivering a great story ending, then there shouldn’t be genres that don’t have any action and adventure at the end.

So many writers have misunderstood the essence of stories. Many think that stories are about what happens. They think it is all about the plot, and as a result, they fail to deliver a riveting and compelling story.

Your story shouldn’t be about what happens but how what happens affects and changes the characters.

External conflict only makes your mirror neurons fire as though all the action in the story was happening to you.

But don’t get me wrong, though. A story’s ending can have all the action and adventure there can be and still be meaning full and impactful; however, many people don’t know how to write the ending of their stories this way.

I’m sure you must have seen a lot of action movies or novels that keep your senses engaged but don’t pack any impact. And you must have seen many stories that are slow-paced and easygoing but are still so riveting and compelling that you never forget them.

The difference is that the writer of the more impactful story knew how to explore the brain science behind storytelling that captures a reader’s attention.

Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

How to Properly Write the End of Any Story

As I have mentioned in my previous articles, the secret behind any riveting story doesn’t lie in what happens. All that is the plot, the external conflict.

The secret of any great and compelling story lies in the story, the internal conflict, and this is what you’ll need to explore when writing your story’s ending. This is what will make your climax really matter to the readers.

The climax is all about raising the stakes. It is the internal conflict that makes us, as readers, identify what the stakes are in a story. The climax is what raises the stakes and ultimately keeps us at the edge of our seats.

Furthermore, the stakes cannot be the same for every character. If it is, then you have yourself a plot-driven story that doesn’t matter in the end and a protagonist that can be easily replaced with any other character in the story.

When writing the climax of your story, you are looking to draw out deep empathy from your readers, and not just some momentary reaction that they get from spiked-up mirror neurons.

The stakes should also not be a life or death situation because it is still the same stakes as anyone else. The character whose stakes you’re raising can still be swapped out with another character in the story.

Of course, there can be a life or death situation in your climax, but what I’m saying is the stakes cannot be limited to just some life or death situation. There has to be something deeper, something linked with the protagonist’s internal conflict that makes the stakes so much more compelling. Let the internal conflict take centre stage, and you’ll have yourself a deeply compelling climax.

You can raise the stakes by clearly defining what the stakes mean to the protagonist of your story.

Remember, in my previous article, “Writing the Most Important part of Any Story”, I mentioned how the third act of Three Act Story structure can be divided into three plot points; the disaster/dark moment> the AHA moment> and the Climactic battle.

These three plot points work together to deliver a compelling end of your novel. The disaster plot point is where the protagonist comes to the end of themselves, believing that all hope is lost. This brings them to the AHA moment, where they realize that every decision they have made up until that moment was based on their fear and misbelief.

Here they have won their internal battle, leading them to the final plot point, which is the climactic battle where they have to win their external batting by facing off with their greatest fear.

This can be written anyhow, depending on the genre you are writing. If you are writing an action-adventure-packed story, then your climax might look like an epic battle between the protagonist and the antagonist. But what you should remember is that it’s not about what is happening on the surface but what really matters to the protagonist.

The climax may not have that final epic battle as with contemporary novels, but it can still build up the tension like any other action-packed story. Your characters can still have an encounter that would force them to prove just how much they have changed throughout the story. So it’s not until there is an epic battle at the end of the story that you can have an epic climactic confrontation. In the end, it’s all about what matters to the characters.

If you can get your readers to care about your character and get them emotionally attached, they will be willing to see anything that might happen to the character, especially at the climax of the story. This is because, at the end of everything, no one really cares about what happened but who it happened to.

After the climactic battle comes the victorious moment. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everything happened exactly the way they wanted it, but they experienced a personal victory because they were able to overcome their fear and misbelief.

When writing the climax of your story, you should ask the following questions;

How does the protagonist prove that they have come out transformed by facing their biggest fear?

How have they changed as a result of their journey, and where do they go from there?

You can end your story with an epilogue; however, an epilogue makes the story end there without getting a chance to write a sequel because you have already summed up everything that happens going forward.

I personally like endings that hint at a possible future, especially when its a series. Open endings give the imagination a chance to thrive. But your story doesn’t have to end like that. That’s just my preference.

Some readers like to have closure. They like to know that whichever way the story might have ended, there is no possibility of anything else ever happening again. It ends there, and that’s final.

But however you want to end your story, remember that your readers will follow you through thick and thin if you can get them emotionally attached, especially when their favourite character comes out transformed.

If your character doesn’t come out transformed at the end of the story, or if it isn’t obvious to the readers how the protagonist comes out changed, then you might need to rewrite the story until the transformation becomes obvious. Because this is essentially the main point of writing the story. To bring out the truth you want the world to hear through your character’s transformation. This is what makes a character arc truly powerful and memorable.

Samuel is a creative writer and a freelance ghostwriter. He has written books for a number and clients and published two of his own. He’s a lifelong learner and teaches others what he learns through his writing journey. You can check out more about his service here.

This is How Every Story Should End was originally published in The Writing Cooperative on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go to Source
Author: Samuel Olaniyan