Write a Better Plot, Step 8: The Climax (Part 2)

Today’s video is a continuation of the discussion on plotting the climax. In Step 8 of her series, Martha once again talks about the structure of this high point of a story.

I think one of the reasons I’ve been having a hard time with my WIP is that I don’t have a firm grasp of my character’s transformational arc. I have a plot outline all laid out, but the real question is how that plot changes my character. As Martha says:

The purpose of the dramatic action is to transform or change the character at a deep and profound level.

That’s what the story is really about. Beyond the plot events, the story is about change in the character. The writer (me) needs to know where the character is headed and how he is going to be transformed.

In How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup is changed in the way he perceives himself and his position in his tribe. At the beginning of the story, he wants to fit in and be accepted by his father, according to the traditions of his tribe (he needs to kill a dragon). But his strength (compassion and empathy with dragons) gets in the way of that starting goal. The plot then eventually transforms him until he embraces the fact that, instead of fitting in, his role is to show that there is another (better) way of relating to the dragons.

In The Lord of the Rings, Aragon’s transformation takes him from being a Ranger to becoming King of Gondor. From hiding from his destiny to fully embracing his role as leader.

Do you know the climax of your story? How is your story’s character eventually transformed by the plot event?

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