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. His debut novel, The End of Jimmy Ray Day, is being published by Literary Wanderlust, coming late 2021.

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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