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Climactic Closure

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Storytelling articles > Climactic Closure

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

 

Description

When telling a story, build multiple parallel storylines and sub-plots, each of which adds to the excitement. Complete some of these along the way to keep the pleasure sustained, but leave many to be resolve right at the end of the story.

Story plot items that may resolve at the end include:

  • Defeating the villain
  • Winning a competition or battle
  • Resolving doubts about the hero's character
  • Winning the heart of a desired partner
  • Finding something which was lost
  • A successful event, such a dance or party
  • Surviving cataclysms such as earthquakes and storms

Example

In a fantasy story, the hero has a romantic interest in a young woman, is untried in serious combat and must eventually face a monster which is threatening the local population. In the final chapter, the hero defeats the monster, saves the people and wins the affection of the fair maiden.

In a political thriller, the protagonist candidate is running for election against a villainous character who has used all kinds of devices to get votes and threaten other candidates. The final scenes include computer problems, uncertain electorate, unhappy partners, and more, all of which are resolved in the climactic electoral victory.

Discussion

Tension and closure is a fundamental motivative pattern that is at the heart of all stories. We gasp at the tensions and desperately seek the closure of resolution. By opening many tensive plots, the overall tension escalate further and further, keeping us on the edge of our seats. Each small closure creates a sigh of satisfaction. By bringing many closures together, the satisfaction and pleasure is ecstatic. In this way, storytellers leave their audiences astounded and delighted as the story ends. And of course wanting more stories.

This principle of climactic closure can also be used in other changing-minds situations, where multiple closures can have a useful amplification effect.

See also

Closure principle, Amplification principle

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