Oct 9, 2011

Random Ramblings: The Climax

As I am nearing the end of my novel.  Finally!  I've come to the climax.  And so I thought I'd do a post about it.  I once read, "That a beginning sells your book, but the climax sells your next book."  But what makes for a great climax?

I guess it's that final object standing in the MC's  way.  Right?  Where everything finally comes together, mystery is solved, and the good guy wins.  But how many great books have you read where the ending, where the climax specifically, was just kind of lack-luster.  It happens all the time.  There are books I absoluely loved and yet the climax was only so-so.  Usually by the end I've invested so much in the story that a so-so climax and ending won't distory a story for me...they usually just leave me wishing I could re-write it.  You get to the end and you think "that was it".  It happens to me constantly when watching movies. 

So, here's a list of books I thought only had so-so climaxes and endings:
BREAKING DAWN by Stephenie Meyer
AFTERLIFE by Claudia Gray
DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver
MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins
Some of these were fantastic books, they just came up slightly short at the end.  Basically, they could have been a little better. 

Didn't you love the climax in the first Harry Potter book?

And some endings I loved:
UNEARTHLY by Cynthia Hand
DIE FOR ME by Amy Plum
HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer

Perhaps the reason some endings come up short is because the author is saving the good stuff for book #2.  But I hate that.  I love when, like HUNGER GAMES, a novel can stand alone...without it's 2nd or 3rd part.  To me TWILIGHT was like that.  I almost wish I never read past TWILIGHT.  I didn't need the others.  It felt complete on its own.  But so many novels save the good stuff for later.  What if there is no later?  Some books I've read and loved in the past never had sequels.  I never got all my questions answered.  :(  Anyway, I'm just rambling now.  You guys have suggests on what makes for a great climax?


Lorelei said...

As an author of a series, I know that it is possible to have a great ending, and yet leave a few unanswered questions so that the reader wants to pick up the next book to learn what's in store, and if that burning question(s) are answered. But of course the best thing is to invent even new questions in the reader's minds, and new possible delemas.

This is a tricky thing. Possibly one that some authors don't understand or simply come up short in their plot thinking--as you said--to save something for the next book.

Authors who have not done this (give a good ending, and yet make you want the next book), are Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison. And of course, JK Rowling.

The Library Owl said...

Interesting post! I agree that a lot of excitement at the end of a book makes me want to read the next installment. Good luck with yours L)

Sarah Darlington said...

Lorelei--Good point! Making new questions for books 2 seems like a great way to add to things. :)

Owl--If the ending is great I always can't wait for the next.

chelleyreads said...

Interesting point. I never thought about what makes a great climax though now that I am, I think a great climax should be a heart-stopping, thrilling event that keeps you guessing for what will happen next even though you know all will end well somehow.

I hadn't yet read any of the books you've listed that came up short for you though I hope to read them soon.

Great post and happy reading:)

Jen Daiker said...

I'm in full agreement of the endings you loved... especially Harry Potter. Then again I'm a HP fanatic! Going to the Wizarding World in November and CANNOT WAIT!

I'm a new follower...already loving your blog! I do hope you'll stop in Unedited and say hello!

Sarah Darlington said...

Jen--that sound like so much fun!!! That's in Orlando, right? I want to go!

Leslie--even the ones that came up short were still really good books...I just would have ended them a little different :)