Today in writing class (which, sadly, was the last of the year for me) we talked about climaxes and resolutions.
The climax of the story is when the reader can't put the book down. The final battle. The crucial clue. The climax is (typically) the first time the protagonist acts completely without hesitation. No more being unsure of yourself--this is it! The climax is the do-or-die scene. The protagonist finally changes his/her behavior and starts getting with the program. He uses the lessons he's learned throughout them book to overcome his foe once and for all. Now, she understands what it takes to achieve her goals. And, most importantly, she is absolutely down-in-the-dumps. The climax happens at the point of utmost tragedy, angst, whatever you want to call it. The climax is when the protagonist must "take a horrible risk or die." Remember the plants I wrote about? Those are blooming now. The flowers are tying everything together. Self-sacrifice usually appears in the mix somewhere, too. The antagonist has become the ultimate foe. It's the surrender-or-conquer moment, and, unless the writer decides to be very cruel, the protagonist conquers.
Resolutions are...iffy, to say the least. It's rare that I read a book that has a really great resolution. That's because they're hard to write. The resolution is the *sigh of relief* moment.You pick up all the strings that you scattered all over the place and tie them together in a (hopefully beautiful) bow. You answer EVERY question you put out there in the course of the plot. You make sure the reader understands the aftermath of the climax, and preferably show the protagonist living happily ever after.
It's going to be hard, but I'll try to write a fantastic resolution. Wish me luck.