Thursday, June 7, 2012

Challenging the Plot Chart: Denouement

So most plot charts or story graphs--whatever you want to call them! there's hundreds of names--look something like this:

I find that often when I write, I have more story after the climax than the chart shows, and often more than many people prefer.  It is commonly accepted that there should be very little story left after the climax, and I'm not saying I disagree.  This is a great tactic, as when the climax is over, the reader doesn't want to be bogged down by a ton more words.  Especially because they know it's no longer building to anything.

Still, I've been told by more than one industry professional--publisher, editor, agent, etc--that I have more story after the climax than is generally accepted.  I don't know why this is.  I think I suffer from an over-abundance of closure.

I also notice that I do this more with stand-alone novels than with installments of a series.  It's easier to do less denouement with installments because the whole point is to do something exciting and then leave the reader hanging, wanting more.

With my stand alones, though, I tend to want to hash out what just happened; to weigh in on what the characters thought of it.  I don't do it excessively, mind you, but I do do it.

So what does everyone think?  Would this bother you as a reader?  As a writer?  Is it a weakness of mine? What are your thoughts?


  1. It's so difficult! When I think about where the story climax should be I get all stressed out. For me, it's best to just write and then rearrange things later if needed.

    1. I agree, that's a great strategy! Thanks for visiting and commenting, Amy! :D

  2. I never thought about closure and separation-anxiety (leaving your baby for another project) playing into it but that could be it. Write to your heart's content. Just be sure be follow what the majority of critiquers and alpha readers say. Eventually there will be something that must be cut. I'm doing that with a climax now and rewriting. Come see the tips on my blog Monday if you get the chance.