Story Climax: A story is a series of acts that build to a last act climax or story climax which brings about absolute and irreversible change.
Wish I were smart enough to come up with that on my own but I didn’t. Like most of the amazing things that I’ve learned about writing and story telling, I got that definition from Robert McKee’s book Story.
If only it was that easy. Just write an ending that is absolute and irreversible.
Besides writing an absolute and irreversible ending we writers also need to remember this other nugget of wisdom from Robert McKee.
A story must not retreat to actions of lesser quality or magnitude, but move progressively forward to a final action beyond which the audience cannot imagine another.
That means you have to close up all the loose ends and write an ending that has the highest level of antagonism in the whole story. There can’t be a better ending linger out there for the audience to pick up on and go, “Why didn’t he do that?”
We’ve all seen or read stories like that, haven’t we?