Day 23 of 30-Day Tarot Writing Challenge: The Climax

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We’re here! We’re here! I hope you’ve been making your way closer and closer to the edge of your seat in anticipation. I have, anyway.

There are a lot of people who find difficulty with the Climax, because there is just so much that is meant to pay off at this point.

Keep in mind too, that the Climax is actually meant to be in your third act, that is, it’s meant to be probably within the last 10% of your novel. We are jumping the gun a little bit here (if the days of the month are anything to go by). But structuring a good climax takes time, and so I wanted to run the spread by you a little early so you’ve got some prep before you actually get to it.

The Climax Spread

This spread is going to be a little more detailed because it is the highest point of the novel. You want to know exactly what you’re getting into so that you can hint to your reader what they’re about to get into.

Card 1: The Scene

Your first card is going to be the scene, where it all goes down. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the physical scene so much as what is happening at the time of the Climax.

Card 2: MC’s Mental State

Your second card is going to tell you what’s going on through your MC’s head. Are they determined and ready? Are they distracted? Are they trying not to mess their trousers? Are they exhausted?

Card 3: Antagonist’s Mental State

It’s just as important to know the mental position of your Antagonist as well. If they’re quaking in their boots, there is an opening for weakness. Likewise, if they’re arrogant, there too is an option for weakness. If they’re happy, it might be downright scary.

Cards 4, 5, & 6: The Event

You can read these three cards how you will, as a sentence, as a frame by frame of the event, but this is going to serve as your basic outline of the Climax.

Card 7: What Goes Wrong

If you want that tension to amp up, your MC can’t immediately succeed. This card shows what goes wrong for your MC, and puts them in a precarious position.

Card 8: What Goes Right

In Card 8 you’ll be looking at what works in the show-down. This might be how the MC gets out of a sticky situation, or it might be how they get the upper hand.

Card 9: To Overcome

In the final moment before the final ‘blow’ is delivered (I put ‘blow’ in quotations as this could be genre dependent. After all, romances—especially Jane Austin types—aren’t known for battle scenes) to the Antagonist, there is something that your MC has to overcome in that moment. It’s the last push before they can be victorious.

Cards 10, 11, & 12: Final Moment

While Cards 4-6 are about the outline of the event, this is the detail of the final moment, of the most climactic of the climactic moments. This will help you detail how it all goes down.

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