1. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    Anti Climatic Scene Ending.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by louis1, Jun 14, 2012.

    How do I deal with an anti climatic scene ending without the reader wanting to stop reading.

    I have a scene where Joe looks for Phil all across town and he can't find him, he then goes to phil's house, knocks on the door, and no one answers.

    It has to end this way, but I feel like reader might just want to stop there.
    I can't just erase this scene cause important information in gathered in there. (not an info dumb)

    I'm not looking for a way to make it a climatic omg moment, It's supposed to be anti climatic but how to I make this work?
     
  2. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Make it suspenseful with the writing. You can make something relatively dull become quite interesting and gripping by the way you write it. But if you view it as anticlimactic, that's how it'll be. Aim for interesting!
     
  3. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    The readers won't immediately stop reading but they would surely want to know why the door was not answered and what the hell happened to Phil. So, if there are no explanations in the coming scenes about this they will be disappointed.
     
  4. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    Phil is dead. I hope you're not to disappointed. :p
     
  5. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    Man, that would be such a depressing ending. You could build up the tension by having both the reader and the character knowing where Phil is and talk about how the other character drove without stopping or something - like if Phil was in another town. Maybe something hinders his home stretch for a bit.
    Now, I'm not sure how I would handle finding out about Phil being dead in the end. If you just kind of said "Phil's dead, the end" , obviously that's just frustrating for the reader, who put their own time into the story. I think that having Phil die will need to force the other character to make a drastic decision or have an epiphany. The death needs to mean something.
     
  6. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    sorry Obviously it's my fault I didn't make this clear enough, this scene is not at the end it's way before during the middle. Phil is not a main character, and we'll learn how he died later. it's not really a phil's dead the end. this scene is just phil's not home the end.
     
  7. Cayo Costa
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    Cayo Costa New Member

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    OK, so I'm a little confused now but I'm gonna try.

    I like anti-climactic endings. There are a lot of famous stories and flicks I can think of that bring you into a story and then just sort of drop off. And it leaves you alone at this place you don't want to be with the typical plot structure, and it's a little disquieting, and sometimes that works. Things can always be bent a little if it furthers the story, and like I said I'm fond of being dropped off like that. I find the understated very effective. BUT I could be in a severe minority (I don't talk to people so I don't know), so feel free to disregard that preference.

    Still, if your ending (of the story) is that Phil is dead and he won't answer a knock on the door, this could be peculiar taste speaking but I think that's enough. Death is a serious enough outcome that if an audience feels that could be a possibility it's gonna impact all the same. Or, what I'm trying to say is, ambiguity in a story can be really effective and I'd advise not to be afraid to use it every now and then.

    But... Is it not the end of the story? That I have more trouble answering. It's too hard not knowing the rest of it, not knowing if Phil not opening a door is going to become a big thing when you get to the end (ex: Phil doesn't open the door a lot so if he died at the end it could leave the troubling question of is he dead or is he just not home). Honestly, that drop-off in a scene is odd enough that if the audience sees it more than once it's going to be remembered. Peculiarities (anti-climaxes) stick sometimes as much as the general bangs do.

    If that's confusing just, just let me know.
     
  8. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does it? I'm always suspicious of claims like that :)

    How about "Joe looks for Phil all across town and he can't find him, he then goes to phil's house, and knocks on the door."

    See? More suspenseful already. True, nobody has answered yet, so in that sense it's the same as yours. But you haven't actually told the reader that nobody answered, so they're left wondering if anybody will. You're going to have to let them know sooner or later, but can it really not be later?
     
  9. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    I agree with digitig in that ending the chapter/scene without the door having been answered yet is suspenseful enough. You don't have to revisit the door scene or why Phil didn't answer until later. As you indicated, the reader will eventually find out his cause of death anyway. The curiosity of the reader will come in them wanting to know if the door will be answered, who will answer, why/why not? Later it'll come in wanting to know about Phil's death.

    The scene itself is climatic enough in that the question raised (will the door be answered when you knock) won't be immediately answered.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Every scene doesn't have to end with a bang, either. As long as the scene serves its purpose, and isn't downright boring, it's fine.
     
  11. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    I think one way that you could do it is to just not end the chapter with the fact that no one was there. Perhaps you could end the chapter with him getting to the guy's house (or even earlier than that). I don't think every scene/chapter has to end with an "omg something crazy just happened", but I also think it's a bad idea to end a chapter/scene with the reader feeling satisfied. The idea of unanswered questions is something that can keep a reader into a book (at least IMO).

    I notice one thing that crime dramas/books do a lot is they'll throw a lot of red herrings into the story to make it longer. So for example, say at one point in the story they find fingerprints that they think might belong to the murderer. Say they determine who the fingerprints belong to and bring the guy in for questioning. But it turns out that the guy has a perfect alibi and the fingerprints were a dead end. That's certainly an "anti-climactic" moment and I think there are two ways to handle that. The first would be to keep going with the story, some detective could pop in and say "hey, I found something else weird about the crime scene that could be a lead" and of course that would leave the reader wanting to know what it was and so they'll stick with it. The other way would be to write the anti-climactic ending in a way where you are still leaving unanswered questions and keeping the reader wondering. Because, in a way the fact that you've hit a dead end could still leave unanswered questions and the feeling of "well, what are they going to do next?".
     
  12. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    OH that's good, thanks a lot. That's exactly what I needed, anticlimactic, but still climatic yes, thanks.
     

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