Is a story with no major climax okay?

StoryShop Forums Building Your World Pre-Writing Is a story with no major climax okay?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Will 3 months, 1 week ago.

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    Farren Lockridge
    Participant
    Maybe it’s just the type of book I’m writing (this would definitely be more helpful if I asked this question before starting to write but it’s a year too late for that) but I feel like with a major climax my book just kind of falls flat.

    In most supernatural high school stories (Harry Potter, the endless amount I’ve read on wattpad) there’s always this big thing the main characters are involved in and have to be the hero in. Is just having the day to day life ok? I’m sure it would become boring eventually but right now, seven chapters in, I can’t see it happening and kind of don’t want it to happen.

    If it’s not ok, can I get some suggestions for tame supernatural climaxes?

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    StoryShop Uni
    Keymaster
    hmmm, this is a great question. I think there are two things going on here. It is TOTALLY fine to have a story that does not have some sort of crazy supernatural or paranormal climax. It doesn’t have to be speculative fiction. There doesn’t have to be a dragon or vampire or ghosts or zombies, etc. It doesn’t have to be an invading army taking over the high school.

    That being said, you MUST have a tense climax for the story to have a satisfying rise and fall. Slice-of-life style fiction will typically involve a climax dealing with things more like: loss of a relationship, key self-discovery, personal triumph over adversity, etc.

    It would be difficult, but an interesting experiment, to attempt a supernatural/paranormal high school story that dealt with all the normal things about being a super. The climax could be a normal slice of life or coming of age climax. A break-up, a divorce, a betrayal, bullying, drug abuse, etc. Does the main super character have a friend that pushes it so far that he actually kills himself while trying to feel alive? Trying to feel the buzz of jeopardy? Then the surviving friends have to wrestle with being human and mortal and being a super at the same time…

    The climax doesn’t have to be saving the world, but it has to be tense and dramatic for the main characters. The reader has to feel the tension of it in order to continue being pulled through the story…typically. Of course there are examples of stuff like Seinfeld, the show about nothing. In those cases you have to develop characters that are so compelling, we don’t care what they are doing, we just want to spy on them.

    Good luck!

    Fire in the hole!
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    Will
    Participant
    Yeah, I agree with what the keymaster said. It’s definitely okay to not have a super-duper-high-octane-end-of-the-world story climax, as long as there’s still some kind of emotional climax, something that’s changed fundamentally in the character. There’s a great video on the difference between story and plot that you might find really interesting, Farren. It got me thinking about not needing big blood story climaxes to still have a satisfying story (even though the example in the video is Lord of the Rings).

    Counterpoint though, I think you might lose something if that plot climax isn’t affected by the elements of your story that make it fantasy or sci-fi or speculative. Why include magic (or technology or whatever) in your story if the magic doesn’t have an effect on the character’s arc? Isn’t it just dead weight at that point?

    A tame example I’ve got isĀ Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin. The previous two books in the series and the one following this book ended with large political and global ramifications for the universe the stories take place in, but this one ends with confronting an abuser. The abuser uses magic to nearly make Tehanu’s adopted parents walk off a cliff, and Tehanu has to use her own magic to save them. The magic is still linked with the story and plot, but in the end it’s just a story about a non-traditional family in a rural area coming together.

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