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  1. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    Ending a Novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by laciemn, Mar 8, 2009.

    So I'm writing the ending of a novel I've been working on, and I've already written it once but then decided that it shouldn't end that way. Do you think that a large battle scene is a good way to end? Like, I have this massive battle scene that I've written, and they are successful in that they accomplish the goal of reacquiring the lost town, but they cannot celebrate and have a "happy" ending because the town is in ruins, and it was the hometown of the protagonist. There is still an opposition, and they are still under stressful conditions.

    The main villain still lives, because I am thinking that I want to do a series, because I don't think I can realistically have the hero kill the villain so quickly, because she is just a normal girl now, and she is not powerful enough even at the end of the book.

    I just feel I am missing a critical component of an ending. Resolution. And I am unsure if I should even have a massive battle right at the end of the book. Any thoughts?

    *I've done more thinking on this and my only solution so far is just to write it and then move onto something else, and I'll fix it later if it's a huge problem or something. But anyone who wants to add anything, it would be fine. I don't think this is the right place to actually post actual chapter.
     
  2. diabolic321
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    diabolic321 New Member

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    Well, as far as I understand it, it depends on one thing: do you want to have sequels? If the answer is yes, than the ending with the villain alive and kicking is alright. If the answer's no [ironic]than you probably have to pull a Rowling and kill the villain with a monster fart or something[/ironic]. If it was a fantasy story, I would think about hinting on some secret power or ability that helps. Or someone could weaken the villain before the battle... It could also be a group effort! The hero doesn't have to do it alone after all, right? Depending on the book, it probably would be better as a series.

    Of course that's just my noobie opinion.
     
  3. TwoToTango
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    TwoToTango Member

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    What's so wrong about a bittersweet ending? Most struggles of any kind regardless of if it's a war, clinical depression, disease, school, etc have a mixed ending.

    You shouldn't feel pressed to kill off the villain just because the novel ends. Regardless of wether or not you intend to write any sequels. The hero (heroine) should fail at some things, like killing the villain.
     
  4. silverfrost
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    silverfrost Member

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    If you feel as though one book isn't enough for a proper ending, then by all means write a sequel. You wouldn't want your character to suddenly have the right amount/kind of strength to defeat the enemy without properly explaining/building up to it. And the fact that you're noticing that something is wrong says a lot. Trust your instincts on this one.

    If you're bent on writing one novel, then you'd likely have to rewrite the change in the heroine so that it makes sense for her to defeat the villain. I'm sure this would mean rewriting the entire novel, however, just like you said.

    This is all up to you, since I obviously can't gauge what's going on in your project without reading it. Good luck ending things!
     
  5. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Your battle covers the climactic aspect of your hero's journey, but the realisation of where her experiences have brought her, from an internal and external perspective; what she has learnt about herself and those she was/is in conflict with, needs to be covered, as well as the resolution of lose ends.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Your choice of ending can drastcally or subtly change the focus of your message. You can end with your nation or world in ruin, for example, or show new life or hope taking root in the ashes. You can bring the focus back to one or more key characters, either showing they have learned nothing, or everything important.

    How to end your story is a key writing decision that no one can make for you. There are too many possibilities, and the impact of the decision is far ranging.
     
  7. Arrow
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    Arrow Member

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    I'm wondering what the market value is for keeping the anti-hero (villain) alive at the "end" of a non-sequel book?

    (By the way, it wasn't clear to me if it is your protagonist who is the girl or your villain...Therefore, it is unclear to me which one wasn't powerful enough by the "end" of your book.)
     
  8. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    An anti-hero is not the same thing as a villain. An anti-hero is a hero with less than heroic qualities. Think Rorschach from Watchmen or Lelouch from Code Geass.
     
  9. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    Thank you guys so much for the thoughts. It will definitely come in handy in milling over it. I know I'll have to change something, whether or not trying to change the tone of the novel or changing the ending.

    One thing I'm not sure of is if a publisher will even tolerate an ending that isn't upbeat(I use this phrase lightly) like most fantasy novels. But, I can't think of that just yet - and I'm thinking that I don't want to do a series, because I think it's a little too ambitious considering I've never published before.

    * The unnamed girl is the protagonist, not the villain :).
     
  10. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Or, eh hem, Wolverine.
     
  11. traffic101
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    traffic101 Member

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    I think a publisher would be okay with any ending as long as the reader is satisfied. It's when the ending doesn't make sense, or tie up loose ends...that perhaps the publisher might not like it. Either way, I think ending the story with a battle is a great way to go out.

    I think your story sounds interesting and you need to decide if you are going to have sequels or not.
     
  12. Arrow
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    I'm pretty clear about the general distinctions between an anti-hero and a villain. I believe I led you toward misunderstanding. Sorry. And thanks.
     
  13. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    An anti-hero can be a villain if by villain you mean antagonist. The antagonist doesn't have to be the most evil being to exist since Witch King of Angmar. You can have an anti-hero fill the typical villain role... just saying...
     
  14. Arrow
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    Not to continue us off the thread; but I must agree, Lordofhats.
     
  15. Chime Elf
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    Chime Elf New Member

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    This does depend on if you want to have sequels or not.

    But in a general sense, I thinks it's okay to finish on a major battle scene. You say that while the town is reaquired, there is still oppression and it is in ruins. Instead of focusing so much on the negatives (I mean, they can't be ignored, but don't foreground them), focus instead on the positives.
    They DID recapture the town. What other positives came out of the battle? Did your main character survive? If so, that's an achievement. Are the people filled with hope for the future? Are they determined to break free from their oppressors?

    Just throw a positive bent on it - and end on a positive note - and this should work out well.

    :)
     
  16. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    A publisher won't turn down a book just because it doesn't end happily (or Sylvia Plath would never have had a career...) as long as the ending is well written (assuming the rest of the novel is good enough to justify them reading all the way to the end). IMO, ending a battle with a big celebration is just crass - so many people have died, so much has been sacrificed, so its not ahappy occasion really, just a release.
     

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