The “Final Duel” fight scene: This is not exactly a technique so much as the others on this list, but it’s still important enough to be discussed. The final duel (or fight) must give the reader more than just a battle victory. It must, at some point in the fight (or immediately after it), impart what the fight means to the protagonist. In other words, the results of the fight must create a final point of growth and bring closure to the story, or if it is the end of a book within a series, it should bring the realization of something greater as a result of the mayhem.
Example: The Black Company (1984) by Glen Cook
I was on my feet in an instant, wobbling, slapping another arrow across my bow. Catcher’s horse was down with a broken leg. Catcher was beside her, on hands and knees, stunned. A silver arrowhead protruded from her waist, indicting me.
I loosed my shaft. And another, and another, recalling the terrible vitality the Limper had shown in the Forest of Cloud, after Raven had felled him with an arrow bearing the power of his true name. Still in fear, I drew my sword once my final arrow was gone. I charged. I do not know how I retained the weapon through everything that had happened. I reached Catcher, raised the blade high, swung with a vicious two-handed stroke. It was the most fearful, violent blow I have ever struck. Soulcatcher’s head roiled away. The morion’s face guard popped open. A woman’s face stared at me with accusing eyes. A woman almost identical in appearance to the one with whom I had come.
Catcher’s eyes focused upon me. Her lips tried to form words. I stood there frozen, wondering what the hell it all meant. And life faded from Catcher before I caught the message she tried to impart.
I would return to that moment ten thousand times, trying to read those dying lips.
What makes it work:
While Cook’s final fight scene of the book does not provide his protagonist with the answers he is looking for, notice that the fight does turn away from the external battle to the internal struggle within the protagonist to find meaning. The answer here is that there is no meaning to the war and death--that it will continue.
As shown here, the final fight doesn’t have to resolve all the conflicts within the character, just the external conflict.
Why it doesn’t always work:
I chose this book because it has a very overt example of the technique. Such an obvious message to the reader does not always work well because it can feel as if the author is telling the reader how they should feel. Even if you are tempted, don't do this. A good writer leads the reader to the conclusion, but doesn't dictate how the reader should fee.