Write Your Novel Step by Step (Home Page)

Write Your Novel
Step by Step


By Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator of StoryWeaver

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Write Your Novel Step By Step!

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Writing from the Passionate Self


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A Novelist’s
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~ Step 97 ~



Plot - Act Three Ending


This is climax of your story.  It is where the antagonist and protagonist meet for the final conflict.  Your entire story has been leading up to this moment, with rising tension and suspense.  All the stops are removed and the momentum cannot be turned aside.


When the protagonist and antagonist meet, they start with the small stuff, sizing each other up.  This is true whether it is an action-oriented story or a character study.  The dynamics are the same - only the weapons they use are different.


In action stories there will be physical weapons.  In character stories, the weapons will be emotional.  In stories about a single character grappling with personal problems, his or her demons come to bear, slowly but directly, building to the final breaking point.


In all kinds of stories, this section builds as the two camps (and their followers) pull stronger and stronger weapons out of their arsenal, since the smaller ones have proven ineffective.


The battle quickly becomes more heated, more imperative, and riskier.   Eventually both the antagonist and protagonist have employed all the weapons they have at their disposal except one – the Big One.  They each retain a trump card, one last weapon that they have not yet used for fear that it might backfire or take them down along with their opponent.  With the use of this last weapon the battle will be decided, one way or another.


The final moments of the ending of act three might take one of two directions:


1. The weapon (physical or emotion) is employed and the results are seen as the smoke clears.


2. The weapon is employed and the result is left in limbo until the conclusion (epilog, dénouement or "wrap-up")


Referring the material you selected for the third act, describe the remaining exposition that has not yet been revealed, bringing your entire story to a climax.