The 4-Part Process for Writing a Phenomenal Story Climax

The 4-Part Process for Writing a Phenomenal Story Climax

The best part of the Fourth of July (other than the fried chicken and potato salad, of course) is the fireworks at the end of the day. Everyone looks forward to sundown and the explosions of color that light up the darkness. Your novel’s Climax is like that. Readers will enjoy the preceding chapters (just like I enjoy my fried chicken), but what they’re really looking forward to are the fireworks at the end of the book.

As authors, we need to make sure we put on a show worth remembering all year long.

But how?

Gardens of the moon Steven Erikson

Gardens of the Moon (affiliate link)

Gardens of the Moon, the first book in Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series, is a complicated (if sometimes convoluted) and exquisitely detailed fantasy that artfully leads readers up to a whale of a fireworks show. Let’s take a look at how Erikson accomplishes this:

1. He utilizes foreshadowing throughout the book to heighten the tension and give readers an idea of the insurmountable odds piling up against the protagonists.

2. As the Climax approaches, he starts choreographing his huge cast of characters to allow them all to appear together in the climactic setting.

3. He steadily increases the pacing, via short scenes that jump from character to character, to ramp up the adrenaline.

4. He holds nothing back. When the Climax finally arrives, Erikson pulls no punches. He gives readers everything he’s got by incorporating every element he’s introduced so far in the story (and a few he hadn’t).

No matter how good the preceding chapters may be, if your story doesn’t pay off in the Climax, readers will be disappointed. So take a page from Erikson’s book and let the fireworks light up your story’s sky.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! What do think is the most challenging part of writing a strong story Climax? Tell me in the comments!

The 4-Part Process for Writing a Phenomenal Story Climax

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Mic Meguiar says

    It seems all your posts on the AuthorCulture site only allows access to “invited readers.” I would love to read these older posts as I find all your articles very informative. Hope you don’t mind me asking for your assistance to access them!

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