The climax in a novel is defined as: a moment of great intensity in the plot of a literary work, generally bringing events to a head and leading to the conclusion.
Does location matter for your disaster?
I think so. Rethink your favorite novel, and put the same characters in a different setting for the climax. Does it still work?
Could Dorothy still defeat the WWW (Wicked Witch of the West) in the happy Munchkinland? No, the castle is the better place for disaster.
If Scarlett O’Hara had forsaken Tara and relocated to New York City, would her determination still have come through? No, endangering Tara was the ultimate disaster for her.
If the fires of Mt. Doom had been a small fountain on the side of the highway, would you still have cheered Frodo and Sam to victory? No, the struggle to the top of Mt. Doom intensifies the struggle – and near disaster – inside it.
The fight. The battle is the key to the climax. And you may have to audition several locations to find the one that works.
In Choosing Justice, the climax occurs at the lake. The recent rains (in the book) are leading to the opening of the floodgates at the dam. I’ve sprinkled hints to this throughout the book. Mix in a critical piece of backstory. Stir in a cup or two of danger with a side of guilt. And you get the perfect recipe for disaster.
And while you’re there, consider all the sights and sounds. I had grossly underestimated the roar of the water from the spillway until I stood there. Leave your computer speakers on their usual setting and Check it out.
And if you want the real story behind how that particular dam and lake’s overflow made part of my book come to life, read here – item #2.
I’m curious. Do you think ANY location can be a great place for disaster? I’m thinking of using a high school cafeteria next…by