The Crisis Point
One of my students asked a very important question this week: "What's the difference between Crisis and the Climax of a story?"
Excellent teaching opportunity.
So, what is the difference?
Well, I explained it this way...
Remember "Phil" in The Avengers?
He was a beloved friend of the Avengers. They came to respect him. He tried to help them by killing the enemy, but the enemy got to him first.
Phil sacrificed his life for his friends.
When he was killed, that was the Crisis point for the Avengers!
They each became despondent. Sitting together, they looked as if they had given up. "Why go on?" they seemed to say.
Then, the Voice of Truth (Nick Fury) comes along and reminds them of their purpose. He uses the memory of Phil to motivate our heroes into action.
They rise up, come together, then head to the Climax...
They come together to Avenge Phil, save the world, and destroy the enemy. The end!
The Crisis is that moment when your protagonist is so beaten down by the obstacles you (the author) have put in his way, that he just cannot go on.
He wants to give up.
He convinces himself there is no way of winning.
...but then the Voice of Truth comes alongside him to encourage him and motivate him by reminding him of his most powerful dream.
As a result, our hero rises to the task then heads to the Climax!
The Climax is where your protagonist and antagonist have to meet. This is where they have to face off. Whether it's your protagonist vs. cancer, or a villain, or an alien army...they must meet and face off. Your reader is expecting it. Don't disappoint them!
How they face off is up to you.
That's the joy of writing.
Now go write your story and make that Crisis point a good one! Your readers are counting on you...
Your turn: What's the crisis point in your story? Is it different than the Climax?