1. MelissaL
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    MelissaL Member

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    Are there times you have no idea how your story will end?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MelissaL, Jan 1, 2010.

    Interesting question, but have you ever written a story where you have no idea what the outcome might be? It was so weird the ending of my story was so unexpected I surprised myself! Strange how you seem to make sense of your own story without thinking much about it.
     
  2. wrenstales
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    wrenstales New Member

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    I have done this on occasions, The story that I have just finished had been edited, reditied and even completly changed the plot but kept the characters and the critique circle I used to test me chapters on are now based on the second story, which hasn't got an ending yet, but this book that I have completed had an ending after four and a half years.

    I think it is normal, knowing what not to expect as our characters shape within the chapters of the story.
     
  3. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    I don't ever know how my story will end till it does. I don't even know what the storyline is till the characters deliver it to me. In fact, I don't even know what my characters are like till they grow out of words I write on the page, and I don't really know what words will appear till they manifest from whatever muddy image I might have in my head.

    I realize this is not necessarily how all writers write, and I used to envy others their ability to begin with a premise, if not a structure or outline. But over the years, I've learned it's not untenable to storytell in the way that seems to work best for me, and I'm thankful for that. It also pleases me that there's such a variety of ways to approach storytelling, because, as a reader and writer, I like to feel I'm surrounded by endless possibilities--some of which help stretch my capacity to think about new ways of writing my own stories.

    Still, my favorite authors in some way seem to me to experience the unfolding of their own stories as they write them. There is a freshness and novelty and vitality to ideas and images that emerge in that way, which sometimes seems missing to me in stories that adhere too closely to a predetermined journey from beginning to end. Of course, it could easily be that stories I like most just seem more spontaneous and those that seem less imaginative sometimes feel forced into a pattern somehow.

    Probably, no writer should think the approach that feels best to him isn't ever going to work. Nor should he ignore the possibility that another kind of approach is responsible for delivering particular stories he loves and can learn something from that will benefit his own writing and storytelling.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, I've never written a story or novel where I didn't have a good idea of the ending before I started.

    Maybe that's just my style and method, but it saves a lot of time and effort in the long run, I believe.

    Terry
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I usually have a good idea how a story is going to end, but I keep an open mind in case I think of a better ending.

    However, there have been a few instances where I had no idea how to end it. I just wrote to see where it would take me. About half the time I was able to write a satisfactory ending. The other times I couldn't find a good ending and so left the story unfinished.
     
  6. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    You make a really good point about the efficiency factor. Some kinds of story-telling require greater efficiency than others (especially, I'm thinkin', if being prolific is key to a successful outcome). I'm thinking about Stephen King's stories, e.g. Or even historical novels (Michener & Clavelle, e.g.).

    Besides that, I'd be willing to bet your imagination (and certainly theirs) is more easily accessed than mine. Do you "discover" some things as you write?
     
  7. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I usually have about three possibilities, but I'm happy I narrow it down at least to that many.
     
  8. TWErvin2
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    ManhattanMss,

    I am not sure 100% what you mean by '"discover" some things,' but normally my plan/outline/plotting or whatever you would want to call it remains largely unchanged. This is because I put a decent amount of time thinking about the story, doing research ahead of time, and fitting the pieces together in rough form.

    But aspects do get altered. For example, some sometimes a character may change. In one story of mine ("Vegetable Matters"), a main supporting chracter, I determined as the story unfolded, was better to be cast as the father, rather than the fiance, of Janelle as the story unfolded. It required a little revision, but the main direction and ending of the story remained the same.

    Hope that answers your question.

    Terry
     
  9. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    I hope to read your story, Terry (VEGETABLE MATTERS). Thanks.
     
  10. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    I didn’t know what my ending was until I got there. But I had climax of the story set in stone before I ever pecked at the keyboard. The side plots that ended at the climax just came to me. I think it turned out better than I thought it would before I began, so I supposed it all worked.
     
  11. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    In answer to the subject question...no. I always know how my stories will end and begin. Everything in between grows from an initial thought-line, that is, a general story line loosely connecting the beginning and the end. As I wander into this thought-line space, creativity stretches far beyond necessary to connect beginning and end. Speculation runs rampant...I actually encourage it. Then, after all the editing is done, the surviving layers of mid-story usually bring me highly layered stories, not random wandering, but complexity that fits, advancing the plot. It's actually the part of writing that I enjoy most. The quality of writing between the beginning and ending makes or breaks the story.
     
  12. MelissaL
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    MelissaL Member

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    I agree its better to plan out what your ending is going to be before you write down your story. I didn't say that I never plan it out, but sometimes I do get stuck. This is when writing an outline doesn't help because then I'm forcing myself to write something my heart isn't into anymore. There are times when it is better to simply write without a plan at least for me. I have come to learn that structure isn't always helpful.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not really... though there have been rare times when a story has taken itself where i didn't expect it to go...
     
  14. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    The best stories are the ones that write themselves. Anyway, yes, I was surprised when my story spanded 16 chapters instead of the orignonal 14 I had planned... :rolleyes:
     

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