1. RobT
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    RobT Active Member

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    Can you finish a story with multiple endings?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by RobT, Nov 4, 2009.

    Hi,

    I'm suffering from having to many ways that I could end a story. Basically I have four (maybe five) different endings that all work well and I feel whichever one I choose I'll always wish I'd used a different one. Is it feasible to write a story and maybe have that last four chapters as four alternative endings? Do you think it would work? Does anyone know of anything that's been written along those lines?
     
  2. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    And have it published? Not that I know of...

    I have never read a book with multiple endings. I've seen a movie that had one: Clue.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Depends....certain genres are more lenient with experimental structures and narrative forms than others....so if you're writing literay fiction, then yeah, you could try it...if the experiment is successful and well-written, it could fly, but if you're writing fantasy or crime, those genres seem to be less willing to publish more experimental forms...
     
  4. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tons of movies have alternate endings. But then I suppose books and movies are different.

    Never seen a book with an alternate ending. But I suppose you could always try and release them online or something. Though I don't know if there would be any problems with that.
     
  5. Sillraaia
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    Sillraaia Senior Member

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    I had a bunch of ways I could end mine, all sounded equally appealing, but always felt kind of awkward - none felt quite 'right'.
    Then I was snuck up on and smacked in the face by the way it absolutely must be. So excitement and inspiration chose for me. Good luck with your decision. Let it come. :)
     
  6. seije
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    seije Member

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    I think that if you wanted to have multiple endings, that would be something you would have to write a book around. for example, multiple timelines/dimensions/character to interpret how it really ended...

    I think it's possible to make it fit, but in the end, i'm pretty sure you'd need a tie-together chapter to appease most readers. Sounds like a fun exercise though! :D
     
  7. SayWhatNow?
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    SayWhatNow? Senior Member

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    ^^^ This

    For example, from what I know, horror is a very experimented on genre.
     
  8. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    How different are the endings? if you ahve completely different ideas then the ending will change the whole crux of the story, the bets idea would be to use each ending for a different copy and get advice from people as to what tehy believe to be the best ending is, as alternate endings all in one book will not work. (the reason films have them is becuase something didn;t quite work in one version and so a better version was chosen, and very rarely do the versions actually differ by any great amount.
     
  9. RobT
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    RobT Active Member

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    The endings are quite different but the events that lead up to the ending would remain constant until I get to the end. So I don't feel the crux of the story changes.

    If you were to think of the original Italian Job film you have the ending where the bus is hanging over the cliff, so you're left wondering. But for example you could have endings where

    1. They escape the country.
    2. They get caught on the road.

    All the events that have gone before leading to them driving through the mountains though remain the same regardless of the ending.
     
  10. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    Well, why not pick a single ending, the one you favor the most, and write it. Then, after the story is nicely polished and publishable, you write the many other endings and put them elsewhere in the story - the back would probably be the best, I would imagine the reader would be angry if the first page was the seventh ending. You can write your story and your ending and still have some fun. Unless, of course, the literature police show up and refuse to let you experiment.

    Literature police are such pains.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't see any paying publisher putting out such a book... and i don't see many readers being happy with having to plow through several endings...
     
  12. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    I don't see the use of this unless your story features time travel and/or time paradoxes, and even if you were to include those things, it would be more a case of varying posible outcomes rather than multiple endings.
     
  13. Runaway
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    Runaway Member

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    When I read this, first thing that came to mind were the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books xD
    Maybe you could make the character dreaming, near the end of the story? Just floating along, and then they start to live out all of these different endings you have planned out, and in the end you could have the character wake up and the book ends? I've never really thought about doing an alt. ending style book^^; But there's a first time for everything.
     
  14. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    I thought the same thing!!:)
    I don't see it working well, mainly because I think the reader might feel a little jipped to go through a whole story, and then find that the writer gave so many possibilities. I think some like the finality of an ending, not a plethora of options. Good luck though, if you think it could work, there is definatly no hurt in trying it out and letting some people read it to see if they like it.
     
  15. SayWhatNow?
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    SayWhatNow? Senior Member

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  16. Fedora
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    Fedora Active Member

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    Irish87 has a point; perfect the rest of your novel first. Also, be very careful that your ending(s) doesn't trivialize the rest of the book and irritate the reader. Just don't let it turn into a gimmick. Having too many resolutions to the plot is the same as having no resolution at all.
     
  17. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    Ha Ha! I knew someone would eventually agree with me. It has taken twenty-two years, but I found the one person.

    :love: Fedora.
     
  18. MaverickChaos
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    MaverickChaos New Member

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    'The French Lieutenant's Woman' by John Fowles has two endings I think. I think four or five may be pushing it a little, but it might work. Definitely give it a shot.
     
  19. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    I would say the fact you have so many endings is due to a lack in ability to develop your story correctly or maybe an issue on commitment as you are still in a development stage. I don't think this is a bad thing, just maybe you need to look at each ending and take the best bits, and ask yourself if its possible to combine the various endings, to give something both you and the reader would be happy with. I'm half way through my 1st draft and I've got an idea of my ending now, but it is a combination of about 3 'alternative' endings I had, and even resulted in me having to construct an additional chapter after the ending to explain what happens. Hope this helps...????
     

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