1. Achilles
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    Achilles New Member

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    Ending Stories

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Achilles, Aug 26, 2008.

    Really sorry if this is the wrong place to post problems with stories, as far as I could see it was either here or Plot. Anyways, I love to write, but no matter what I write, it always seems to be bad. I'm probably just expecting too much of myself, but I can never even end a single story because of this, it always looks horrible. If anyone could suggest ways to end stories that would be great.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Writing takes practice, just like anything else. You'll find that as you write more, you'll get better. Just remember to go back and edit and look for mistakes so that it won't happen in your future writings. As for the ending, just write a couple of endings and see which one you like best. I did that and found I liked one of my alternate endings as opposed to the ending I first had in mind. In the end, you can pull off just about any ending if you are a good writer.
     
  3. Popsicle.culture
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    Popsicle.culture Member

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    An impossible request, frankly. If you don't know the story, how are you going to end it?
     
  4. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    Achilles, the only way I know of to end a story is to just make yourself do it. Even if you're not satisfied with the work in the end, its a big boost just to know you're actually capable of finishing something. I once spent four years on one story and never got past page 150, so I understand what you're going through. Often though, when you get the feeling your story is bad, it indicates you're growing in your writing skills. If you can look back and see your errors as well as your progress, that's a good thing.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Identify the central plot and its associated conflict. The story can end right after the resolution of that conflict, or you can finish with an indication of how that resolution changed the lives of surviving key characters.
     
  6. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    I agree with everything except the bold.
    If it's only a feeling, and you don't have an eye for what exactly needs to be improved, only feeling a diminishing drive to continue... I think it's more likely a problem of letting criticism leak into the boiler room, as it is, and douse precious creative coals that's never a good thing. Perfectionist paralysis is a horrible thing.

    I suggest freewrite sometimes, throw every nearby idea under the pen just to keep moving-- and say that it ends when you feel satisfied, not when it reads as satisfactory. (Stokes the fire, keeps the warmth and enthusiasm blazing.)

    Other times, know what the last sentence will be before you begin, and write towards that last sentence. (Structure, patches the leaks up and gets the critical thoughts flowing only where they should.) Some suggestions:
    - Maybe they'd meet again someday. Maybe they wouldn't. It didn't matter anymore. She waved good-bye.
    - We shook hands on it.
    - My stepmother remained as evil as ever.
    - And so the story ended where it began.

    From Gail Carson Levine's Writing Magic. Fun exercise book, has a lot of good advice that I wish I had when perfectionist paralysis took over-- even if it was written for kids so the tone was so sadly and obviously dumbed down.

    If you have a work in progress already, the ending usually comes when the conflict is resolved. If you can define the biggest problem in the plot of the story, list down possible ways that problem can be solved, and then pick your favorite way of solving it... then you have it.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. Still Life
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    Still Life Active Member

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    My sentiments exactly. We couldn't give you any suggestions anyway, since we haven't read the story.
     
  8. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    Just write till you get some sort of ending no matter how bad.

    Come back to it a week later and see how it could have been improved.
    I would also suggest you read a lot as well.
     
  9. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Do you just need endings?

    As that really should be the realm of you the author to have an idea of how you want to end your own story.
     
  10. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    How about you start a story by telling yourself, "I'm going to write a lousy story on purpose"? That way you've set your expectations pretty low, so when it turns out lousy, at least you expect it and the ending should come more easily.

    The only way you can end a story is by ending it, which means you have to write it and finish it. No matter how lousy it is. So write lousily for now. You have time to write well later.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it may just be that you write yourself into corners, from lack of planning or knowledge about your plot and that's why you can't end them...

    so why don't you try not even starting a story till you know how you're going to end it!... that way, all you have to do is keep writing till you get to where that ending can fit in... et, voila!... you'll have a completed story...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  12. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I second Cogito and mammamia.

    I find it works best when you plan your beginning and your end. Everything in between is so flexible once you have that. Outlining helps too. Come up with key points and write them down and plan it out.
     
  13. Sophronia
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    Sophronia Member

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    I agree with maia - try to imagine how the story will start and how it may possibly end. That's usually the route I take when I go to write a story, and even if the ending wasn't exactly the way I imagined it at first, it was still an ending that was able to complete the story.
     
  14. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    The ending doesn't have to be just right the first time finishing it. Just write whatever ending you feel fits best at the time. When you go through rereading your story and making edits and revisions, then you'll probably get a better feel of the ending you want.
     
  15. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gotta give yourself permission to write badly. Writers are known for their self-esteem issues, so it's normal to think you aren't good enough (though we have to do our best to ignore the voice that says we suck). Any problems can be fixed later, but only if you don't give up. As for endings, my mother put it perfectly when I was lamenting that my stories have a length that is hard to find a home for. It ends when it ends. You can't force a story to be longer or shorter than it is supposed to be without changing the story.
     

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