Gardens of the Moon, the first book in Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series, is a complicated (if sometimes convoluted) and exquisitely detailed fantasy that artfully leads readers up to a whale of a fireworks show. Let’s take a look at how Erikson accomplishes this:
1. He utilizes foreshadowing throughout the book to heighten the tension and give readers an idea of the insurmountable odds piling up against the protagonists.
2. As the climax approaches, he starts choreographing his huge cast of characters to allow them all to appear together in the climactic setting.
3. He steadily increases the pacing, via short scenes that jump from character to character, to ramp up the adrenaline.
4. He holds nothing back. When the climax finally arrives, Erikson pulls no punches. He gives readers everything he’s got by incorporating every element he’s introduced so far in the story (and a few he hadn’t).
No matter how good the preceding chapters may be, if your story doesn’t pay off in the climax, readers will be disappointed. So take a page from Erikson’s book and let the fireworks light up your story’s sky.