This next section of notes I’ve dug through are from the ‘End of All Things’ panel. Here are the main points and a couple questions to consider…

Some of the best Climaxes involve some kind of sacrifice or cost on the part of the character. Ideally, dealing with that emotional cost directly ties into the climax of the book. This got a bit confusing for me to understand, so here’s an example.

Let’s say your main character’s best friend just fell out of a cargo plane, unconscious, at 18,000 feet in the air. The hero/heroine must skydive after their friend to rescue them, that’s a decent challenge. However, If you throw in that the protagonist is also terrified of heights because his/her dad died in a skydiving accident ten years ago… You just tripled the tension and the main character can’t save the day without resolving it.

Now, building on that. If this were a series, you want the ending of the first book to be satisfying, but leave enough questions and problems to pull the reader to the next book. For example: If the cargo plane is occupied by bad guys with a bio weapon and the protagonist was supposed to sabotage it (leaving it active when he dove after his friend), you have an effective lead into the next book and an added cost on the protagonist’s part (letting the bad guys get away).

Stuck at a scene you’re writing? Try these three questions. What does your main character want? What can go wrong? How will he/she cope with it? The nature of pushing a story along and making sure your character (and vicariously, the reader) is growing along the way.

Think back to your favorite or most hated stories. What are the worst endings you’ve ever seen? What are the best? Did the final obstacle carry a cost of some kind on the character’s part? In truth, you could even consider the hardest things you’ve had to overcome in your own life. How did you grow from those experiences? Tie those pearls of wisdom into your characters and you’ll be surprised how real and personal they can feel.