1. pinkgiraffe
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    pinkgiraffe Member

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    Endings

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by pinkgiraffe, Jan 11, 2012.

    I'm looking for some advice: I have real issues with writing, or even planning, endings for my stories. I have no trouble setting out the situation, getting to know the characters, creating some tension between them, but I don't know how to resolve it. Every story I plan seems to just fade out at the end, and that makes me lose motivation during the writing stage.

    I think my issue arises because I tend to draw heavily on real people, places and situations as inspirations, and real life never has neat endings with all the ends tied up. I want my fiction to be as believable as possible, and wrapping everything up in an 'ending' always seems fake.

    I also feel that endings are really important, and play an important role in delivering the premise or 'message' of the whole book, so that puts too much pressure on it: anything I think up never seems good enough. And maybe I'm also too attached to my characters and don't really want them to change, which is why I don't think out their stories beyond the crisis point.

    The only resolution I can usually think of is to kill off a main character whose future I can't envision, but I would find it more satisfying to help my characters outgrow those dead ends.

    Anyone else have this problem? How do you deal with it?
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to have this problem when i was younger, and that is why I ended up with like 14 binders worth of handwritten material (altogether it was two stories) and when I started writing "for serious" I had the feeling that I didn't want to leave my main characters but just to keep writing about them forever...
    ending are difficult because, as someone pointed out once, (now i can't remember who it was or the exact quote) "it's the beginning that sells the novel, but it's the ending that sells the next."

    I like a feeling of a continuation when I write the endings, like the end of the novel is the start of something else, even though I have no intentions of writing a sequel- I wanna give an impression that the story goes on, even though we no longer follows the characters. Actually just last night I figured out how my current WIP would end, and that felt good. i think you need to find an ending that reflect the mood of the story. Just killing characters off to have a natural ending probably isn't a good idea.
     
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  3. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I think endings are sooooooo important. It irritates the heck out of me when I read a book and it's so great, keeping up at night great and then the last chapter or two the story just dies.

    I think plot driven stories are easier to end than character driven stories. Maybe try writing a story where the plot is laid out in you mind before you start. Then find character that work for the plot.

    This advice is given all the time but it's good advice so I'll repeat it. Read and study how authors that you enjoy, end their books.
     
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  4. pinkgiraffe
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    pinkgiraffe Member

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    I like that advice. My problem with endings is that I don't know what I'm trying to achieve. But if I look at it as setting up the characters for whatever they're going to go on to do after we leave them.. that might help. Thanks!
     
  5. pinkgiraffe
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    pinkgiraffe Member

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    That is very good advice, and worth rememebering. Ok, maybe one of my aims for today will be to go through the books on my shelf and remind myself how they end, and why those endings work (or don't).
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Pink, this migth help http://masteredit.net/videoLessons.htm
    The one on story structure/plotting.
     
  7. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've had some really good climactic endings before, and I've had some that kind of peter out to nothingness. Those weren't necessarily bad, either, considering the stories themselves.
    Usually the beginning and the ending are all I can imagine with a story and I just try and fill in everything else. I guess I never really have a problem with it because at some point, an ending becomes obvious to me.
     
  8. cari_za
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    Would it be possible to have a recurring theme? Like a reiterating issue with the main character, or something that glues them all together? If I were stuck in the same boat, I'd rather end the issue/theme than try sum up the characters lives in an ending.

    I'll try think up a plot concept on the fly; lets say I've decided to write from the perspective of a teenager stuck in the life of an alcoholic father, another teenager stuck in a normal family but her parents constantly fight, a young woman just left school but with a child and struggling to earn enough money to give them a comfortable life and an old woman in a supposedly haunted house with 20 cats living off a delapidated pension. I would create a theme of "struggle", and my ending would be each character having a moment of realisation either that struggle is a part of life but you shouldn't just let it get you down, or possibly some of the characters realising that (that struggling's just how it is) and others realising the opposite (possibly feeling like it shouldn't be that way and that they're the only one's that have been dealt a bad hand) to empathise the affect of surenity vs bitterness. Or something like that....

    Not sure if that helps at all? Just thought I'd swing the idea your way.
     
  9. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    I will admit it has been a couple years since I have even attempted a short story but I do remember a little bit of my own process when I would go about them. Sometimes I would try and figure out the ending first so to speak. It usually would start off broad and vague at first but the more I brainstormed it the more it grew and grew. The basis being just a goal that you want to achieve, or something attainable. And then build it around the attainment of that goal, whether it be a specific character transformation and the story that goes a long with it, or it being some event. Anything. The point is, it makes it easier to build the story since you already have the ending in your head and you know what and where you want the content of your story to BE, now you just have to fill the gaps on HOW and WHY it got there.
    Hope that helps a bit.
     

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