We talked last time about instilling fear in the reader. Now I want to discuss following through with what I like to call the big showdown. It doesn't have to be a literal showdown. It typically IS the climax though. Maybe it's just a climax for your scene, or maybe it's for the entire book. Either way I want to outline some ways to get the biggest bang for your words.
I read a book (I won't say which) where the climax came and was over so fast I almost didn't recognize it. Not cool.
- Keep an element of surprise. If we're biting our nails as the MC reaches for the door we're sure the killer is behind... Maybe the killer is actually sneaking up behind her? Or he is behind the door, but it looks like no one is there, and as she turns away -- keep us doubting and hoping.
- Make it a challenge. It's true, we want the MC to succeed. We've traveled this far with her. We even want to protect her. BUT ultimately if it's too easy or safe, we are disappointed and rightly so. This is the test you've built up to. Make it HARD. No skating by.
- Give us a moment of doubt. If you've done your job the MC has the tools and know how to get through this even by the skin of her teeth. However, that doesn't mean she'll do it, right? Give us that moment of "Oh no she's not gonna make it!" Even if she does.
- Pull in the clues. You've laid the groundwork. You've planted threads. Now's the time to bring them together. It's always fun when something you've forgotten about as a reader comes back and fits perfectly in place at the crucial moment.
Any other tips to add?
Photo credit: I know, the pic isn't perfect for the subject, but it was too cute not to use.