1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    How do you know which ending to pick?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Aug 24, 2016.

    I have revised my story and written out some more drafts, making a lot of changes, hopefully for the better.

    But now I feel I have arrived at more than one possible ending, and I am not sure which to choose as the best, since each can produce different emotions with the characters and the plot. So as a writer, if you are stuck between two or more endings, how do you know which is the best one to pick?

    I know writers say to sometimes pick the ending early on, and then build into it, but after revising it a lot, I find other endings optional as well, late in the process. So how do you decide on an ending or which is the best? Do you go by emotional character revelations, or are plot driven revelations more important sometimes? What do you think?
     
  2. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    After I went back and revised my first novel, I ended up rewriting the ending. I think the story was better for it. So much can change depending on the degree of revision. I think you have to be open to where you are taking the story now as the writer. And I don't think there is anything wrong with writing out more than one ending. I've done it before, and if you do that, I think you will know which one best fits your story.
     
  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Well one of the endings is more suspenseful and dramatic for the hero's character development, and one is more suspenseful and dramatic for the villains development and fall. But I can't have both, since the actions of the characters contradict each other, and only one outcome is possible. So that makes it tough.
     
  4. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    Fuck an ending. Add another ten thousand pages and ten more books.

    Joking.

    I say try writing it out with all the endings you can come up with. Compare and contrast and pick the one that feels right. If you're doing another book after it, consider how it will effect your plot in the next novel.
     
  5. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I kind of like two endings equally and not sure. Can I ask people on here? I know this is not the whole story but it's a brief outline of two endings.

    It's a thriller story, of cops vs. a group of villains. The cops have had enough of the villains committing crimes, after a cop is killed. It's the last straw for a group of other cops. The other cops form a vengeful mob, or 'death squad', if you will and go after the villains with the means of killing them, after being pushed this point.

    What the cops do not know is, is that the fallen officer, which they are avenging, was actually a corrupt mole, working for the villains. The villains killed him by accident, in a scuffle, to keep the mole from turning on them, since they suspected he was going to turn on them.

    So the cops are out to avenge a fallen officer, not knowing he was working for the villain's in both endings. Here are the two differences between the endings:

    1. The leader of the gang of villains decides that will a death squad of cops after them all, that has lost, and there is nothing more he can do to save the gang or himself. He decides to turn himself in to the honest police and take the blame for the crimes, saying that it was him who got the gang to commit all his crimes, and that it was all his fault, that the cop died, as well as the prior crimes before.

    The leader decides to communicate with the death squad of cops somehow, to come to a truce, asking that if him turning himself in, will be enough to stop any more blood shed on the cops part, since it the cop's death was his fault. The rogue cops consider this and allow him to take the blame for everything as part a of truce.

    However, the fellow gang members, do not trust the leader turning himself in and taking all the blame, trusting him not to eventually cave and cut a deal. It does not sit well with them so they go after the leader and attempt to take him out. The death squad of cops, have to decide if they should protect the leader, and allow him to turn himself in, since he is a crook willing to surrender, and you do not get that often. Or they can decide if they should just let the other gang members kill him. But the gang members end up shooting at the cops to try to kill their leader, and the cops end up shooting and fighting back. Most of the gang dies as well as a lot of the police, accept for the main character cop, who regrets forming the death squad.

    The gang leader also regrets turning himself in as it got most of his men killed. He can now refute his surrender, telling the honest police, that he did no such thing and surrender and it will be the rogue cop's word against his. So he feels that his surrender accomplished nothing, since it didn't save his fellow gang member's lives, but got them killed. That is the first ending, here is the second:


    2. The gang is desperate and knows that the rogue cops are after them, and feel they have to do something to save themselves. In this ending though, the gang does evidence on the dead corrupt cop. They were using it as leverage on the cop, should he decide to turn. But they still have it, and have it hidden somewhere, just in case they needed it, and haven't gotten rid of it yet.

    So the gang decides to turn over the leverage evidence to the police, knowing that the rogue cops who are after them, will come across it. They will then see that their fellow officer friend, who they are trying to avenge, was one of 'them', all along, and they therefore, will be disgusted and not want to avenge their friend anymore. The gang turning over this evidence on the dead cop, will deter the vengeful cops' course of action and take away their revenge motive.

    However, what happens is, it that before the gang can turn over the evidence to the honest police, the rogue cops find the gang, as they are preparing the evidence to be delivered. They kill the gang out of revenge, but legally make it look like a police sting operation gone bad, and make it look like police self defense. But a lot of the rogue cops are killed as well in the revenge quest. During this violent shootout and fight, the villain tries to plea with the cops saying he will turn himself in as well to save the rest of his men, but it's too late, and he cannot save them in time, and regrets, having gotten them all killed, which was not his attention, similar to the first ending.

    As the remaining rogue cops that are alive, along with the honest police who arrive after, go through the evidence recovered from the investigation of the sting gone bad, the police find out that their friend they were avenging, was one of the gang all along, and then regret that the revenge, thinking it wasn't worth it to get men killed, when their friend was a mole. This is different from the original ending, where they wouldn't get any proof that their friend was a mole from the villains.

    But in both endings, the gang leader, who is the main villain, tries to save the gang and, but ends up getting them killed, and regrets it in both, after surviving in both.

    So which ending do you think sounds better? I thought about combining both but I don't know if I can since the villain's motivation is different. Turning himself to save his me and taking all the blame is not something he would do, if he had evidence on the dead cop, to deter the rogue cops from taking revenge in the first place, right?

    So maybe I have to pick between the two then. What do you think?
     
  6. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    #2 hands down. #1 barely makes sense. He's willing to sacrifice himself for loyalty to his gang and they turn on him. Not the gang dynamic for that scenario to make any sense. Option #2 makes a lot more sense.
     
  7. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Maybe the gang doesn't turn on him in 1 though, I am not sure yet. But why does it not make sense for him to turn himself in, if he cares about the lives of his fellow members and does not want to see them get hurt by the rogue cops? It's unusual for a villain to go to jail to save others, but is that the part that doesn't make sense?

    The villain also does the same thing in the second ending, he just attempts to do it, when it becomes too late, as oppose to having more time. So since the villain does the same thing in both, how does it make less sense in ending 1, if I may ask?

    Or is it the gang turning on the leader that does not make sense? I was told by others when writing it, that if a gang leader was willing to turn himself in, his men would not trust that he wouldn't cut a deal, and his men would turn on him to stop him from doing so.

    That is what I was told how the gang would react though, but do you not think so?
     
  8. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    It's not about how either are acting individually, but together.

    It's understandable for a leader of a tight knit crew to sacrifice himself. If they turn on him that easily, obviously that's not the dynamic. Would be a more everyman for himself attitude.

    It's understandable for the gang to act that way, but then not for the leader to willingly sacrifice himself for them.
     
  9. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Oh okay. I thought that the gang might be thinking "Well it's very nice for you to sacrifice yourself and take all the heat for us sir, but we don't think you can handle a life in prison, without eventually cracking, and turning us in to cut a deal, and we cannot let you do this".

    What if I wrote it so that the leader sacrifices himself but the gang doesn't turn on him then. Is that better? The thing is is that I wanted for the gang to all in the same place at the same time for my ending, so the cops can get them all in one shot. But if they do not all agree as a majority, then they do not have a reason. So I could try to come up with a different reason for them to be.

    Or I could write it so that the gang thinks that their boss will eventually crack and cannot take prison, but instead of killing him, they attempt to shoot at the rogue cops to stop the rogue cops from possibly taking him away?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  10. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    I'll tell you what, I will help you with any questions you have anytime you want if you want to start a conversation.

    The answer to your question is yes. It's also fine if one, or a small group depending on the size of the gang, turned on him. The only issue is it's unbelievable for the entire gang doing so. A small percentage, yes. 1-5% of the gang turning, sure.

    I need to sleep. I was hoping to have someone read and respond to my 2nd draft (almost entirely different) of my horror short story "The Cold Ones," but it's way too late to keep waiting.

    If you have questions on your WIP, want a beta read, want a red pen slasher (editor), or a critique send it to me in a conversation and I'll always respond when I have a chance. Send as many conversations as you like.
     
  11. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whenever I find myself trying to choose between writing one of two options, I always try to find a way to do both ;)

    Maybe most of the gang try to help the leader (scenario 2), but a few of them don't trust him (scenario 1) and the group splinters into a shootout just as the cowboy cops arrive?
     
  12. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I was thinking of combining both but hard a time doing so, cause they seem to contradict each other.

    I need a reason for the rogue cops to arrive in the first place though. If a shoot out breaks up and the rogue cops arrive and get involved, they still need an explanation as to why they all went there originally, since their intention was to go there for revenge, right?
     
  13. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Actually I was looking it over. Do you think that in ending #2, the cops get too lucky? First they go off to get revenge and kill the villains, but the villains, in order to prevent from being killed out or revenge, just so happen to lead the cops to evidence that can be used against them, such as the evidence of the dead cop being in collusion with them. This gives the vengeful cops a reason to arrest the villains, so they don't have to take revenge now. There is like a 1 out of 20 chances that would happen, and the story goes for that 1 out of 20, so is that too much luck falling into the main character cop's lap?
     

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