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I'm currently outlining a YA dystopian/science fiction novel, with two alternating POV's, but I realized I don't really have a solid climax--which I've always known as a turning point for the characters and usually the most dramatic part of the story.

Some background: I plan for Character A and Character B--the two POV's--to become lovers at some point in the story/series. They are brought together after B saves A's sister, and then ally with a group of supporting characters in a plan to save people who were taken away by the government as part of a "corrupted plan," lets call it, they don't know about. My "climax" was originally going to be when this corrupted plan is revealed by the president of this dystopian society. This causes the main characters to connect the dots from what they've seen in the past and now they find themselves needing to stop this plan.

I was thinking the climax should have something to do with Characters A and B. But their romance is more of subplot, not really affecting the main plot much. The main part of the plot would be stopping the "corrupted plan." Stopping the plan and everything that goes with it is basically the whole premise of the story, but its reveal doesn't really seem like a turning point for my characters.

Is there a way I could keep that climax (the reveal) and have a separate climax for A and B? Or combine them? Or just figure out a whole new climax? I hope this is clear.

(By the way, I don't plan for this novel to be a standalone)

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    Welcome to Writing.SE! There's no need to thank us, or to point out that you're new - there's a "new contributor" badge under your profile that already tells us that. This is a good first question, I hope you stick around! – F1Krazy Apr 20 at 15:51
  • Do they foil the President's plan (The Giver/Logan's Run)? This can be the climax. Do they spectacularly FAIL to stop the plan (1984 or Brave New World)? That can be the climax. You can have multiple smaller peaks to your climax, they all built towards the peaking of the story, so not too much let-down between. – DWKraus Apr 21 at 3:37
  • @DWKraus Spoilers, they do eventually foil the plan, but I think that should be a in a later book (I'm panning ahead a bit). There are supposed to be a bunch of events leading to that victory, so yes, similar to what you said, in each book (however many I write) there will be smaller climaxes leading up to the big climax of the whole series. Thanks for your advice! – mindbutterfly Apr 22 at 13:26
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What I understand

You have two parallel plotlines, one about a group of characters saving their world, the other about two people from that group falling in love.

You have a climax in the saving-the-world plotline, and that climax affects all the main characters in the story personally, but it doesn't affect the relationship of the two lovers.

The first part of your question appears to be:

Q1: Is it okay that the saving-the-world climax doesn't bear on the love story?

A1: Yes, it is okay

Separate plotlines (that coincide in one or several characters) can be separate.

The second part of your question seems to be:

Q2: Is it okay if the saving-the-world climax has nothing to do with the two lovers?

A2: That depends

  1. If you have an ensemble cast (as in Game of Thrones), where all the characters are equally important and get approximately the same amount of screen time, then they can have "lives of their own" that only randomly intersect with the lives of the others.

  2. If the two lovers are the only two protagonists and the story is driven by the saving-the-world plot (and that is not just the setting for the love story), then the saving-the-world-plot must affect the lives of the protagonists (though not necessarily their love story).

Or in other words: The protagonists of your story must be affected by that story. The story cannot be driven by side characters.

The third part of your question seems to be:

Q3: What can you do?

Since you are vague about the story, my answer can only be equally vague.

What you can do is change the focus of the story and turn the dystopian storyline into a part of the setting. This might feel weird, though, and readers might wonder why you set your story in a dystopian world if you don't make that central to your storyline.

What you can also do is pull one or some of the side characters into focus and make them protagonists. That might not interest you, and some readers prefer books that limit themselves to one hero or, if there is a love story, two.

The best approach then might be to go back to your character development and find out in which way the saving-the-world plot affects them (and, maybe, their love). If that is where you are stuck, you might get unstuck more easily if you are open to change some fundamental aspects of your storyline(s). This is called, "killing your darlings". If you are in a dead end, go back as far as you need to be able to see other directions, and try out one of these. That might be changing your characters, changing the antagonist, changing the plan of the antagonist, changing aspects of the world, and so on.

A3: Use common brainstorming and creativity techniques and tools. A great way to become unstuck is to let others read your outline and give you feedback (and heed it!).

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It's not complicated, the turning point could be located when your character is near the ending of book 1 but if you really don't know where to put your climax, you'll identify one when one of your ideas stands out. Many authors would experience this type of problem when they encounter the crossroads that take them towards a different ending. The climax doesn't have to be in one book, it could also be in another book while your first book could introduce the main point. Since your sub-plot was romance and your main plot was saving the world, warp it into your style. You could have character A trying to save character B being taken then confessing their love during the very end or having them both embracing with relief while both risking their lives to uncover newfound info.
Also, it doesn't matter if you got a boring climax of the main plot or the subplot, what matters is that the events should be fast-paced and eager for the rising actions.

P.s. Make surprises as your climax isn't bad either.

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