Everyone Likes A Strong Climax

So, I’m getting pretty near the end of my work in progress and something hit me. Stopped me in tracks, really. I don’t have faith in my ending. I’m only a few thousand words from the end, and so far…the climax seems sort of anti-climactic.

I wrote a (very) rough outline of the story before I started, but I left a lot of room to just write off the cuff, because I like doing that and feel like I do it fairly well. I had a final scene in mind that I really liked, but nothing that really led up to that final scene. I was happy with the story up until the last couple chapters; then I started to feel like I heading toward an impasse.

I stopped writing it for about a week. I edited the second novella, I wrote the rough draft for a short story, then today I forced myself back into the WIP. I plowed through a couple of paragraphs, and things started to flow a little better. I feel better about it now than I did a week ago, but still, it feels….a little weak. I’m bound and determined to get the rough draft finished as soon as I can, because work becomes more of a burden in the summer months, so maybe if I put the story away for two or three months and look back at it in the fall a better ending will jump out at me.

I am curious, though…any writing Jedis out there have any advice for when you feel like you’ve written a good story that just falls flat? And for the non-writers out there, are there any books or movies that stand out to you as being especially anti-climactic?

A quick search of a couple of websites that addressed the topic led me to believe No Country For Old Men especially frustrated people. I really liked that move, and while I can see why people weren’t satisfied by it, I liked the ending. If I’m going by my own tastes and memories, I’d say…forgive me, any other Stephen King fans…It. All that build up, a thousand freakin’ pages, and it’s a giant spider? I was a little let down, to say the least. But please offer up your opinion in the comments.

Published by Kenneth Jobe

Kenneth Jobe is a writer, photographer, musician, and Native Californian living in the Midwest with his wife and son. His fiction has been published in Jitter, The Rusty Nail, Ghostlight: The Magazine of Terror, and the horror anthology Robbed of Sleep, Volume 2.

2 thoughts on “Everyone Likes A Strong Climax

  1. At the end of Stephen King’s 11/22/63, he mentioned that his son read the manuscript and didn’t like the ending; he suggested an alternative, which King used (and I liked very much). King should do that more often — the ending of The Dome was more than lame, it was stupid. So maybe you should ask your wife, a sibling, a trusted friend to read your manuscript and suggest an ending, and you can give credit to the person. It’s obvious that you are a good writer, and I’m looking forward to reading your published novel.

    1. It seems like King sometimes struggles with endings. I have 3 “beta readers” who I give my work to read over, but my wife is the only one I really trust with ideas for plot points and finding holes. She has a knack for it. Thanks for the comment and the kind words!

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