Climax is not only the pinnacle of the narrative, it is also the pinnacle of each scene. Climactic depth originates in a character versus self conflict. There will be other conflicts involved as well, but when fully realized, the foundational conflict focus will be the main character versus self. Norton defines it structurally within the narrative:

The third part of plot, the point at which the action stops rising and begins falling or reversing; also called turning point or (following Aristotle) peripeteia. (Norton)

Climax Writing Exercise

What is the most important, climactic scene in a recent work you’ve fully drafted—short story, novel, essay, verse…? Can it more fully infuse the character versus self conflict?

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The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the PresentEric Kandel.

A Handbook to Literature. William Harmon.

“Cogito et Histoire de la Folie.” Jacques Derrida.

Cognitive Neuropsychology Section, Laboratory of Brain and Cognition.

Eats Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Lynne Truss.

The Elements of Style. William Strunk. 

New Oxford American DictionaryEdited by Angus Stevenson and Christine A. Lindberg.

The Norton Anthology of World LiteratureMartin Puchner, et al.

The Norton Introduction to PhilosophyGideon Rosen and Alex Byrne.

Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. Patricia T. O’Conner

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French & Ned Stuckey-French.

Writing the Other. Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward.

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