The Big Scene

The Big Scene

Man in hiking boots standing on edge of a cliff in Grand Canyon, Arizona.

What’s in your big scene?

The climax is a scene that is going to be the high point of the action for your protagonist ancestor. Your protagonist ancestor only gets one climatic scene, so it needs to be big and as powerful as you can make it.  In this scene, your ancestor collides with his antagonist, whether it be a person, or a storm, or an inner conflict. The climatic scene is the moment your ancestor overcomes his

final obstacle, the point where he reaches his goal.  The action comes as a relief to the tension that has built up over the course of your story. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to your reader but more of a relief.

Your protagonist ancestor only gets one climatic scene. Let’s make it strong.

Because this is your big scene, it must have a couple of essential elements.


The climatic scene should have high action and drama at a quick pace. The action must directly relate to the situation, the story problem that launches the story back at the beginning. There should also be some high stakes for your ancestor at this point,  a lot of on the line should they lose. The scene should build very quickly, with little exposition but with very definite action and dialogue. No time for lengthy expositions or internal monologues. It should be very clear to the reader what is happening; there should be no guessing or reading between the lines.

Strong Setting

Accompanying that action should be plenty of detail and description to give a high level of atmosphere for the scene.

Emotional Content

Once the climatic scene is over your ancestor has been changed permanently from the event. Therefore, we should see an emotional element to your climatic scene.  The climatic scene tests your ancestor, and they are permanently altered by whatever happens.

Once the climax is over, the narrative is resolved, tied up and concluded.  Everything that follows will be slower and more reflective and contain less action.

When the climatic scene is over, your work changes…but that’s tomorrow’s post.