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Climax

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > The Five-stage Story Structure > Climax

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

After the long and steady rising action within a story or sub-plot, at last things come to a head in the climax of the story.

The climax is often the most exciting part of the story, where a lot of major action happens. In movies, it is also the most expensive bit for the producers, with lots of special effects, sweeping scenarios and so on.

Example

Big fight sequence; finding the treasure; hero enters villain's lair and rescues the maiden; the mega-storm happens; girl and boy go out on date at last.

Discussion

Stories can have several climaxes as sub-plots reach smaller conclusions before the grand climax near the end of the story.

The climax leads to a point of closure that resolves much of the tension in the story (although not necessarily all of it).

False climaxes can also be used to increase tension further. The storyline may indicate that the main climax is about to be reached, but something happens and the real climax does not occur, for example:

  • The hero gets to the villain's lair, but the villain has fled.
  • The supposed villain is captured, but it turns out that they are actually working for somebody else.
  • The hero realizes that they are on a fool's errand or the wrong quest and revises their goals.

See also

Tension principle, Closure principle

 

 

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