Can you have a follow-up climax?

by Julianna

Question: I have quite a few questions... but I'll explain first.

In my story (I haven't finished writing it yet so I can't really call it a book) I have multiple plots...

The main character is in a sort of "group" for the... I want to call it supernatural ... She does not exactly know what her ability is.

She is sent on a sort of quest to retrieve five things, information about a traitor, and possibly the traitor along with it.

In the end she finds her "info", objects, and "traitor". The "traitor" Is executed. Then, later, a person who was supposedly her friend tries to kill her (almost does), and then she finds out what her ability is.

Now, after the explanation, the questions.

I'll try to answer each of your questions below in order. - Glen

1.) Is this way too many plots?

Answer: From the way you describe it, it sounds like a lot of different objectives or goals for your protagonist, and it might be clearer if she has one overall goal, even if that goal has several sub-goals or Requirements. For instance, there might be an overall situation or problem - a threat or crime or imbalance that must be addressed - such as bringing the traitor to justice. To accomplish this, the main character might need certain information (requirements). But there might also be a stipulation (preconditions) that certain valuable items must be retrieved before the traitor is executed (otherwise they would be lost forever)..

2.) Would this be too overwhelming for the reader?

As above, a clear, overriding goal would help.

3.) If I kill off a good guy, would this make the reader upset?

Again, not necessarily. One of the basic plot elements is Costs, which are the price characters must pay in order to achieve the Goal. If there are no Costs, the Goal seems less important. The Costs justify the effort to achieve the Goal, as in "Let it not be said that John Smith died in vain, or that his death will go unavenged..." If the main character is tricked into executing an innocent person, that might give her a strong desire to correct that mistake.

4.) If the reader finds that the supposed friend is a traitor, and that the good guy died, would that make the reader too angry? Sometimes readers get emotionally connected to the characters and then get upset when something happens to that character that they liked.

Sounds like a great reason to hate the villain.

5.) Is this like a double climax? After the climax there is supposed to be falling action, not a BOOM! and then, the end.... Is it not a good
idea to do this?

In some stories where the main character is manipulated by an evil impact character, the impact character's throughline is hidden. That is, it's clear in hindsight but neither the reader nor the main character realize what's going on until the end. (I'm guessing here that the false friend is the impact character.) You can reveal the truth in the end and still play fair, as long as the reader can flip back and see that the clues were there all along.

Of course, the trick is to decide if you are writing a comedy or a tragedy. Is this a story in which the main character is tricked into making a mistake but then figures out the truth and makes the right decision at the climax that brings the impact character to justice? Or is this a story where the main character makes the wrong choice at the climax, only to discover the truth too late and the impact character gets away with the crime?

Assuming you want the happy ending, here's another way to look at it:

In Dramatica, we talk about four elements:

1. Symptom (what the characters think the problem is)
2. Response (how the characters try to address the symptom)
3. Problem (the real problem that's causing the symptom)
4. Solution (the real answer to the problem)

In this case, the symptom may be the supposed treachery. The response is to bring the traitor to justice. But then real problem turns out to be the false friend, and the real solution would be to bring him to justice.

One way to structure this would be...

Act 1 - the symptom (apparent treachery) arises
Act 2 - the protagonist responds by catching the traitor
Act 3 - the real problem is revealed to be the false friend
Act 4 - the real solution is achieved.

Regarding the issue of double climaxes, a fully developed story can actually have four climaxes:

1. The main or overall story climax where the outcome is determined.
2. The main character's big decision.
3. The impact character's climax. (If the main character decides to change, the impact character usually won't. If the main character sticks to his guns, the impact character will be forced to change.)
4. The climax in the relationship between the main and impact characters. In your story, this could be the moment when they go from "friends" to enemies.

In some stories, these four climaxes are all rolled into one. In others, they occur separately, but they all occur in your third act.

By the way, THANK YOU!!!!!! You have answered a lot of my questions already and they have really helped a ton.

Thanks. Hope this helps as well,

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