This is the apex of the story where there is a ‘big bang’ and all the action occurs. The inciting event comes to a head and all the suspense and intrigue blows up in the reader’s face. In a mystery this would be the duh-dun-dun moment where the killer is revealed, or we catch the bandit. In a thriller, this would be the big car chase leading to the villain getting caught. In a horror we fight the monster.

In other words, the climax is the highest part of the story arc where there is typically a confrontation between the antagonist and protagonist. This is the moment of resolution where the main character achieves or fails their goal. The climax will happen typically 90% of the way through a story.

Climax placement in a story is very important. If it happens too soon, there will be too much resolution and the readers will become disillusioned. If the climax happens too late, the story will not have a good ending as too many questions will remain for the readers. Key elements of a climax are:

  • Heightening of Intensity
  • Often Surprising
  • Answers a Question
  • Resolves Conflict

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