1. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Ending a story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Anna100, Oct 2, 2016.

    So, I'm having problems with endings (right now I just try to write short stories.) Before I start writing the actual story, I write down a simple synopsis, or how the story will go. Ie. this will happen on day one and this will happen on day two etc. But when I'm trying to figure out an ending, I just go blank. And even though when I do figure out an ending and have it written down, my story usually take a turn when I write it, so the planned ending doesn't work anymore and then I have to find a new one. I really never finish anything, and it's such a bad habit.

    Is anyone having the same problem, or do you find endings easy? If anyone has any pro tips, please share. :p
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    What's your story about? Like, what's the central conflict?

    I think that's the easiest way to figure out how to end the story - wrap up the central conflict. Then maybe a few more lines to tidy up any other conflicts or issues, and then... you're done! Yay!
     
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  3. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Yes, you're right. I think that may be one of the main issues, that I don't really know what my story is about, even though I think I do. Hmm. Thanks for the short, but good advice.
     
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  4. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    A story needs conflict. When the conflict is resolved the story can end. That is a very simplistic way of doing it but a guide if you are having trouble.
     
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  5. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    Sounds to me like you might try not planning so far ahead and just follow one of those turns you're talking about until you get to the end. I know that's easier said than done, but I find that following the natural progression of a story rather than the outline often makes for better pacing, rhythm, and overall quality. An outline can give you the framework to start a story, but if you're already finding yourself diverting from it as you write then why waste your time, right? Come up with the central conflict or premise and just write about it. Chances are good you'll suddenly find yourself at the end knowing exactly how to wrap it up.
     
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  6. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    Return home, solve the problem that could not be solved before the journey (which has changed the character), then leave. Very much like the end of Lord of the Rings; classic journey outline: https://www.youtube.com/user/clickokDOTcoDOTuk/videos
     
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  7. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Yes, I usually have a conflict, but sometimes I think it's resolved too quickly, or I think it's not satisfying enough. I think that's the reason why I keep stopping near the end. Or as I mentioned above, maybe I don't really have a good enough conflict to resolve. I don't know, maybe I just need to take a little break from writing. :p But, when BayView and you mentioned conflict, it really made me think.
     
  8. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    I'm actually not one of those who like to plan very much before starting to write, so most of the writings I've done previously have been without a (strict) plan. That's why I decided to try out writing the synopsis first, to see if it would be easier for me to write a story - and finishing it. But, yes, I always stray from the path. :p I might need to focus more on the conflict. Thanks!
     
  9. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    I understand, but it's so hard to apply to your own story sometimes. :p Thanks for the link, I will check out more of those to see if it can help.
     
  10. yellowducky
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    yellowducky Banned

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    And easy way to end a story is having a meaning to the story at the end. At the end of a story write out something random (liouse then ate some hotchoclate and learnt that drinking hotcoco isn't so bad as she thought!) or for a meaning (No matter what happens we are your friends ,after a fight)
     
  11. CrusherBrooks
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    CrusherBrooks Member Supporter

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    I wrote in from the first person perspective, and then he died. I put a (partial) conflict resolution in an epilogue which is no more than a two paragraph letter from a side character to his wife.
    Sometimes you get a happy end, sometimes you try your best and fail.
     
  12. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    I'd strongly disagree with this method of ending unless you want your work to come over like a primary school child (thats 4th grade to our american bretheren) - theres nothing wrong with a story having meaning if it was planned to have it all along, but hanging any old profundity or nonsense on the end ad hoc is not a good idea
     
  13. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    If you want a classic example of how not to handle your main pov character dying, see the Gate Crashers by Alexander Fullerton (Nicholas Everard book 9) - Fullerton is usually a very good writer but they way he suddenly inserts himself as a First Person I in the last chapter to describe his meeting with the main characters executive officer is very very jarring.. to the point that now I know its there i don't bother reading the last chapter... as an end to a book its poor, as an end to a 9 book series its simply awful
     
  14. yellowducky
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    yellowducky Banned

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    Well my stories are for adult horror with weird detail .That's why I call it CASEFILES Kinda like making a story about an evil duck.Its not ment to be too scary just a little bit
     
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  15. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Anna100 Pro-tip: to end the story, add words until it is over.

    ... In all some seriousness, the big difference between "story" and "plot" that I hear a lot in my writing courses comes I believe from Faulkner:

    A Story is "The King died, and then the Queen died;" a Plot is "The King died, and then the Queen died of grief." A Story is a sequence of events; a Plot is a sequence of events connected by a specific chain of cause and effect.

    Once you have a good reason for why the story went from A to B, then you'll have a better idea for how the same reasoning should take the story from B to C.

    So far, all of my horror stories have ended with the evil force winning outright because nothing the protagonists did was able to stop them. That's just what horror writing means to me: the opposition has to be stronger than the actor, and it wouldn't make sense for the actor to win. I don't mind watching/reading horror stories where the horrifying thing doesn't win, but so far I haven't written horror like that.​

    That was the third most important rule. Now for the second most important: brainstorm. Come up with as many half-baked ideas as possible, look for things to dislike about each idea (how it doesn't fit with the plot, how it doesn't fit with the character), then see if any of these ideas can be changed into new ideas that do fit the story better.
     
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  16. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Meaning or not, the ending still have to be relevant to the story and tie it all up somehow, it can't be too random. And it's still hard to wrap it all up well. :p But I understand what you mean.
     
  17. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    So the main character died? That's one way to really end it. :p I've been thinking about how it would be if I ended a piece of writing with the main character dying, but I don't know if I would be able to do it. It's interesting, though.
     
  18. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    I would never want to force anything upon the readers. On a somewhat other note, when I write, I sometimes catch myself trying to be wise and profound (not intended) through dialogue and it's really terrible, ha. :p
     
  19. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe you could write that as one or two of your characters annoying your other characters by doing that? My lead protagonist is crazier with words than George Carlin at a salad bar, but that is expressly shown to be something about him that the other characters don't always get ;)
     
  20. Kitk37
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    Kitk37 New Member

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    I have the same difficulty. I have a short story that I started a number of years ago and I ran into a block when it came to the final showdown and how that would play out. It sits in my file unfinished. My current WIP, a novel, seemed to be dragging out and I had been working on it for so long (since eighth grade) that I came up with an ending, but it felt like there were holes and loose ends that needed to be wrapped up. I finally, went and took care of those issues, but I might not have gotten it all.

    Anyway, I have heard that writing the ending first can help, but that endings are never set in stone. I have yet to try writing the ending first, so, it might take some experimentation. As was pointed out, the conflict or dilemma must be resolved in order for it to end. I run into a problem when I start out with an idea and start to write it, I get a block because I do not know where I am going with the story. I suggest taking some time thinking about where you are going with it. Answer some basic outline questions to help for reference.

    Hope this helps,
    Kitk
     
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  21. vermissage
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    vermissage Member

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    You really should let the story decide how long it's going to be. Don't set an artificial reference point unless you're being paid handsomely for it.
     
  22. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    You have to consider not in the planned, but in the most fitting ending.

    "After the ending is the most important part of a story." -Mort Rainy- Secret Window:)

    And it is hard to determine what kind of ending you are looking for so...

    1. If the story is intense then the ending should be powerful and triumphant, or it should be tragic, mournful, and dark.
    2. If it is romance it really boils down to do they get together in the end, or do they part ways.
    3. If it is middle of the road I suppose it will be difficult for your ending to make a statement really.
    4. Thriller/Horror/Mystery/Crime can either be concluded by the capture/death of monster/criminals, or left on a lingering cliff hangar.
    5. Try combining multiple elements in your ending if you want.

    This is purely opinion, and I hope it helps you get an idea of what you want to do when it comes to conclusion of your stories.
    (I am panster, so no planning required.) :supergrin:
     
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  23. yellowducky
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    yellowducky Banned

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    Well THEN I have the same problem :( what about harry potter,that was fanstasy and a good ending???

    They have a few books out and its all based on fansaty world and the story is endless
     
  24. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    I've not actually read the harry potter books, but i have difficulty believing JK rowling finished them by sticking any old crap she thought of on the end and hoping it would sound profound ( My wife has the whole set at home so i'll have a look later)

    Theres nothing wrong with a series but each book should stand alone to an extent, and if you want the ending , or the book to have meaning then you need to plan that meaning , not just add a random thought and hope for the best (from what i saw of your writing on the now deleted posts your basic problem is more than just the ending but a lack of plot or structure, if not a great deal happens in a story its bound to be difficult to end it.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
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  25. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Yeah, I probably mix the two (plot and story) all the time. It can be confusing.
    Hmm, you're right about the fact that the stakes could be higher and the conflict more difficult for the MC to overcome. If that is what you mean.
    But, look for things to dislike? Is that a way to evaluate the ideas and be critical about them?
     

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