1. AspiringNovelist
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    Dystopia novel ending

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by AspiringNovelist, Aug 1, 2015.

    Hi All,

    I wrote a dystopian novel over a year ago and it has sat on the bookcase since -- the reason -- I don't like the ending. In fact, I hate the ending...

    Plot: Your normal tale of a government authority that takes over and rules mankind -- I'm happy to re-use this theme because it's been tested in numerous novels, plus I do have little twists here and there that make the story my own.

    The characters are Arc (MC), Fallon (MC's wing man) and Lisa (MC's love interest) -- the antagonist is The Authority and it's political agenda known as The Collective Solution. I spend a great deal of time showing how the Authority extinguishes any type of beauty, of humanity, to the point that it becomes an actual character.

    To introduce you to the 1_POV writing style, here is the last few paragraphs of chapter 1:

    [text redacted]

    From there, there are 19 chapters of Arc, Fallon, and Lisa wanting to, then planning, then ultimately escaping The Authority's rule. They struggle on their own, but have a goal -- a safe haven in Savannah. 2 of the 3 don't make it to the safe haven. That of course, leaves the MC, Arc. Arc reaches the safe haven and loves their form of government -- a government based on the Federalist papers.

    The in-between chapters aren't dull, they're full of action, like this:

    [text redacted]

    This end result (the federalist papers) was my plan all along (it was my outline), to have Arc's epiphany coincide with his discovery of the Federalist Papers as they are amazing pieces of work in their own right. This epiphany propels him to become an heroic general that takes the fight to the Authority.

    BUT, as I edited and re-read the story, it's fine until the very end -- those damn Federalist Papers. After all the build up, the death of Fallon, and dear God, Lisa. Discussing the Federalist Papers comes off as a big let down to me as the writer. It reads like an essay, a bit preachy (which I'm known for because of my strong political views)...After several re-writes, I know this ending isn't going to work, it's just too much of a let down and far too boring.

    ****

    It was good until right after this point (Chapter 21):

    The old man had called it: The Monarch lesson. That was the lesson about the benefit of the group. “Indoctrination!” He had said, “Strange, you saw it from an individual perspective. Who sensitized you, Arc? Your parents?”

    Holding Lisa’s limp body, I realized my mother had sensitized me. It was her kindness and understanding that had leached into and colored my empathy. I realized my father had given me the strength to be bold in my ideals. But, mostly, I realized that, now, I was alone. And even with the warmth of a raging fire, I was cold. I was little more than a frigid shadow holding a lifeless shadow and I said her name among my cries and dread. “Lisa!”

    She didn’t, she couldn’t respond.

    As I dug into the ground a white hare appeared on the snowy horizon and watched me dig. I only noticed it when its pink ears pointed in my direction. When it was still it disappeared into the backdrop of snow. A few hops and it was gone. I searched for it for no other reason than it was alive, it was a living thing that I might be able to tame and make a friend of. All it left behind were a few paw prints heading east. I lowered Lisa into the shallow grave I prepared for her. I turned on the iPOD and let it play Bach, then laid it next to her. The next day, I collected myself and pushed through the snow toward Savannah. Not for me. Not for Fallon. Not for Lisa. I pushed ahead because the east promised freedom in Savannah. It had become my torch light. Because I had lost everything except will. I pushed ahead because there was nothing to go back to. That part had been written.

    It wasn’t easy. I lost four toes and two fingers to the cold. Had to amputate them myself by twisting copper wire until the dead flesh fell away. I went hungry all the time. I ate tree bark, leaves, and anything I found in the streams. Just enough intake to place one step in front of the other. I never stopped edging my way east. I couldn’t stop. You would think that was the worst of it, but it wasn’t. The worst was laying there day and night and forced to realize I had lost a friend and my love. The worst was that I was alone and she was never coming back. Haunted memories, as a lifetime tried its best to drag me back to solace. To make me a slave once again.

    Several weeks later, the mongrels found me. I was near death. Barely skin and bones. Nothing more than a broken man with a broken heart...The mongrels were not down-and-outers who would kill you, skin you, and then, sell your skin as if it were animal hide -- as The Authority had claimed. They were a hospitable...

    ****


    After that, it moves into what I can only call a political rant. After the initial re-read, I thought I had made a mistake, skipped off the "outlined" plantation so-to-speak. But, I hadn't.

    ***
    So, I read a post today, that suggested a writer throw out his first few ideas of an ending to his/her story. And attempt to come up with something unique. (I thought the Federalist Paper ending would be perfect), thus (thought I had accomplished my unique story.)

    So, help me brainstorm. What other ways could I end this dystopian story? Arc has escaped The Authority, but the price has been high -- he lost his friend and his love.

    Thanks

    Edited: As a note, the seed for this story came from this (watch and it might help you help me :) ):
     
  2. tupbup
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    tupbup Member

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    Does the discussion of the federal papers that you don't like happen before or after he takes the fight to the authority? If it's after you might be able to cut it? If before then just do enough for it to be a believable factor in rallying Arc to the fight but leave off as much of the discussion as you can. Just infer bits and let the reader do the rest of the work for you. They just need to know that there are federal papers and those papers are beauty in their own right. (from what I can gather anyway, I may be miles off!)
     
  3. AspiringNovelist
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    Thanks, tupbup,

    The ending is like that of Charlie Chaplin in the video. It makes sense, most would agree. But it comes off as preachy in the written word. To answer your question, the federalist papers are brought up as a rallying cry to attack The Authority.

    Sadly, as a writer "I ain't buying it."

    I need a different ending, something unique.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
  4. tupbup
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    tupbup Member

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    What if he started to build his own community with the values he holds dear? Assuming he is not crippled by grief. A competitor to the Authority if he has only escaped and not brought them down already. Of course with the guilty knowledge that one day the Authority will no doubt come and kill them all?

    If he has to stand up and give a speech it could be reluctant and short, saying how he thinks the world should be for everybody etc. and not just for the greedy and so is creating his own little community for the people who want liberty but he won't force them. It's their choice.
     
  5. AspiringNovelist
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    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

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    Whew, you may have given me an idea. Thanks for sticking with me. I'll get back to ya.
     
    tupbup likes this.

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