The Climactic Scene is the Final Confrontation
The climactic scene is the hero’s last confrontation with the villain, the antagonistic forces, and her personal lie. This is the moment she will either emerge victorious or everything will burn around her.
The climax is the moment the hero shows her new colors.
- Emmet become the teacher to Lord Business (The Lego Movie)
- Batman tells the Joker “You complete me.” (Lego Batman Movie)
- Sadness takes control of the panel (Inside Out)
The climax is the last moment before we get the answer to the question raised in the second half of the final battle
- Will President Business believe he is also the special? (The Lego Movie)
- Will Batman and Joker save Gotham? (Lego Batman Movie)
- Can Sadness get Riley to come home? (Inside Out)
The climax ends when we get the answer to this question.
Tips for getting the most out of the climactic scene
- Make sure the climax has the strongest tension.
This must be the highest stakes and the most difficult problem. If you have a previous conflict/scene that overshadows your climax, your story will feel off balance.
- If you are tying up multiple subplots, don’t let them distract from the main plot
Subplots help to fill out your character’s world, but it’s easy to get too involved in them. If you run into trouble, make a diagram of your subplots showing how they relate to the main plot. Then, reframe the hero’s problem to relate to his character arc. Keeping the plot centered on the character arc will ensure your story’s stakes are personal rather than generic. This will help your story feel original.
- If you have a theme, try to tie the climax to it
Not using the theme in the climax is like not adding herbs to the soup. Sure, you can do it, but you’ll end up with a pot of mushy boiled vegetables.
- No 11th-hour twists. The solution must already be in play
Finding a random solution will leave your readers reeling. Everything must already exist in the character’s world.
- No easy outs
Yes, I know about the Sonic Screwdriver but this is the exception, not the rule.
- The hero must solve her problem
Nothing is more anti-climactic than having the hero’s problem solved for them by some outside force.
- Superman didn’t fly in to put Gotham back together
- Riley’s parents didn’t show up at the bus station to take her home.
- The hero must solve her own problems. You can send in the cavalry after conflict has been resolved.
This is final moment. Now, your character can truly become a hero
The hero has conquered her lie. Now, she will conquer her struggles. Keep her focused on the outcome and your hero will have the ending she deserves.