1. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Sadly Ever After?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Pythonforger, Dec 6, 2010.

    What are the pros and cons of a book where the antagonist wins and/or the protagonist loses? How would it affect a story? And what about sequels? Would you set up a trend of sadly ever afters(like in the A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket), or will the main character go ape**** after finding out that Evildude managed to get the Supercallifragilisticexpialidocious Ring of Infinite Power, and hunt him down with a chainsaw(or a laser gun, or a sword) and attack him in book 2? This first sadly ever after will probably affect your entire book series(if there is one, and yours is not a standalone book), namely because Evildude has the Ring of Infinite Power, and transforms into a clone of Chuck Norris, except 10 times stronger.
     
  2. Screams of Silence
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    Screams of Silence Member

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    I've always liked the idea of the villain winning for a change. Makes things less predictable. If you have a story that ends like that, I say go for it.
     
  3. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    to me it depends how the person wins (good or bad) that makes the story good or bad

    if the good guy or bad guy wins because they where deistend or three thousand times more powerful then well whats the point?
    it tends to ruin the story for me

    In my story neither the good guy or the bad guy wins
    they both kill one another

    and the world goes on with out them

    the follow up books have good guys win
    and sometimes bad guys win
    and a lot of times neither "wins"
    (hey in my series if you die at an old age you win)

    the series is a history of a world


    but my book is a lot about humanity faults and misconceptions
    and the whole there is a fine line between good and bad
    often one in the same

    as i say in the books
    "humanity is insanity"

    to answer yo question beater
    the problem is that if the bad guy wins
    it tends to be a cheep way
    I'm not sure how to explain
    let's use harry porter

    if the bad guy had killed harry whit the killing curse (i guess he kind of did lets not go there)
    would it really be wroth reading 8 books just for that?
    instead harry dose so much more


    so using your example
    (btw i love it)

    if your using a series
    and the bad guy wins book one
    dose eh win?
    if for example the first book was about a race to get to the ring
    if one gets it he wins the "Round"
    but in the next book he gets roundhouse kicked by the real chuck Norris Chuck Norris(who is 1000 times stronger then the clone of chuck Norris who is 10 times stronger then chuck Norris was when the ring was made)
    who wins?

    the "you won the battle but not the war"
    co,es in to effect with seirres

    if the bad guy kills the mastar but the apprentice kills him
    dose not the bad guy lose?
     
  4. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    I am planning on my antagonist failing, and my protagonist failing. Not mutual destruction, but justa failure to reach their goals.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally I just need a good ending - there is nothing worse to read a powerful potent story only for it to go limp at the crucial moment. Talk about unfulfilling lol
     
  6. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Define "good". Is it a plot twist at the very end(omgwtf the ring was a fake), or maybe something crucial is revealed(the guy in the hood was Gandalf) or is it just a sound conclusion(and they rode of into the sunset, knowing Voldemort would never trouble the world again)

    For me, its an "everything is revealed, but the enemy escapes at the last moment" ending. Something like "And then I came to a shocking realization-Hood had manupilated Gearlock all the time! The dynamite, the scepter-Hood had made sure all of these were carried out through Gearlock. But even as I tried to attack Hood, he teleported away..."
     
  7. JetMasta
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    JetMasta Member

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    In the first part of my latest story, my MC loses and pretty bad. And the main villian spends little of his time worrying about my MC. Because, lets face it. Who would bother to chase down someone that had their spirit completely broken? and that is no threat to you anymore?
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    A good ending is one that leaves me feeling sorry the book has finished or looking forward to more... beyond that it needs to fit the story. My first book I ended with a threat, my second with two men dancing round their bedroom with their pants on their head , third my character threw an alarm clock. The last two were dark and I wanted something fun to end the second one, and a feeling of life goes on with the third.

    A bad one is when I am left looking over the page wondering where the rest of the book is. Or where it feels like the writer has hit his deadline and number of words and thrown in a sentence. With mine only the second had a planned ending - the first I just read and thought that is cool and stopped writing. The third I added it because it harked back to an earlier incident and in two sentences tied the story together.
     
  9. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    Good? Bad? I try to avoid these notions excepts for when plausible. I will never, ever put in a purely evil-for-the-sake-of-evil antagonist unless they are also insane.
     
  10. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    A good ending completes the story. That is probably the most simple advice, but it answers the question. Each book--even one that will be part of a series--should contain its own arc. And that arc should be tied up when we reach the final sentence.

    Now does it have to be happy or sad? It doesn't truly matter, as long as the story is completed. Let's say we have boy trying to get girl. Now at the end, do they elope in Vegas and have an Elvis wedding? Or does the girl's hacking cough develop into a fatal farewell? One choice is more cheery than the other, but the resolution is still there.

    I'd venture to say that if you fight for 500 pages for the world, and the bad guy wins, and the story feels flat, there's probably a good deal of work left to do to the story.

    Just my thoughts.

    //R
     
  11. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    And ending should be good and appropriate. If that means sad, go for it. But don't make it sad just to make it different. I don't wanna see the hero suddenly decide to shoot all the protagonists for no believable reason just to make a sad/unpredictably grim ending. End it the right way, whatever that may be.
     
  12. Celia.
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    Celia. Senior Member

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    well if it brings the story to a close and does not aggravate the reader, i have no issues with it.
     
  13. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    I always like a different ending to your traditional good guy truimphs over bad guy. But mostly if it's actually worth that victory.

    Like recently, I read a book that had the bad guy win, but in the poorest way possible. Like the two dementional characters of children's cartoons were better than this guy. So it was kind of a turn off.

    In another book, the bad guy won, but comes to find out, he was the good guy. Confusing yes. It was because of his ideals though. He wanted to bring the people together and end the suffering and the wars. But the way he was doing it wasn't exactly the smartest of ideas. Kind of another Hitler if you would. But it was still good.

    Anyways, I say go for the twist of tradition. It makes stories more original and better. Definately something new over "And so the hero truimphs yet again."
     
  14. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Not a hero/villian story, but Love Story was a tear-jerker. Though Dr Zhavago ended with something of an upbeat chapter, it was very bittersweet. It can be done.

    As for the sequel - well, that's where things are resolved! Think "The Empire Strikes Back".

    -Frank
     
  15. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Love it!
     
  16. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with that. One thing that has always irritated me was the idea of villainy for its own sake. I remember when John Jakes wrote his so-called Bicentennial Series, it was replete with bad guys who just didn't like the protagonist (probably because he was the protagonist), down through eight different generations.
     
  17. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, it has to be fulfilling, otherwise I feel disappointed and mowed over by the author. But do what you want, because there are stories and popular stories out there that don't end happily ever after.
     
  18. Bartleby
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    Bartleby Member

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    There is always the watchmen ending where the bad guy wins but the kind of bad/good guy leaves his journal and the ending is left open to interpretation I liked it, the bad guy did some bad things for a good reason and the good guys lost, even though they had a god with them.
     
  19. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    ???
    umm Atomic man (was that his name?) was not a god
    he could only see his future (which is how the bad\good guy tricked him)

    how ever it is good to mention that tecnoly these guys where the where vifle antis
    as shush cliquish done many times
    the ending was unique i guess
    but just wanted to point that
     
  20. Midnight Pete
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    Midnight Pete Member

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    I prefer happy endings to sad endings, though sometimes a happy ending is just too cornball or cliche to work in a story that strives to depict realism. Realistically, the good guys don't always win. But I guess it depends on how badly the good guys lose, doesn't it?
     
  21. Midnight Pete
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    Midnight Pete Member

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    It wasn't Atomic Man, it was Dr. Manhattan.
     
  22. kirstylouise666
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    kirstylouise666 New Member

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    I don't mind a unhappy ending but not a fan of the main characters being killed off. I read one book where the bad guy wins and the good guy becomes a slave to him. Didn't really mind that.
     
  23. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    Like others have said, it needs to be good, in which I mean that it needs to give a kind of catharsis to the reader. Sad or happy, the reader needs to close the book with a contended sigh (in my humble opinion), or, in the case of series, the reader needs to feel a great urge to read the next book, or be filled with an insatiable impatience for its release.
     
  24. scribbledhopes
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    scribbledhopes Member

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    I expect sad endings with horror or short stories; it's always a crap shoot on who will win and can be interesting, because there isn’t a lot of emotional commitment.

    On the other hand, if I spend considerable time reading a novel, I want a reward. Crushing my hopes at the end, after you made me care about your MC, to me, is a hit to the author’s credibility.

    They have lost my trust, now when they go off trying to get me emotionally involved in the next book about this great guy and his blind kid , I am going to hold back expecting a trick.


    It's almost mean; All I can compare it to is the old Charlie Brown skit, where Lucy pulls the football at the last moment and the reader ends on his back with a groan to the silent chuckling of the author.
     
  25. MetalRenard
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    MetalRenard Member

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    You can also make a sad situation seem happy.
    Take the terminator 2 film, the machine we are attached to (Arnie) dies but it's so that his friends can live on. For me that is terribly sad but I can understand it and in this case I do not feel tricked.

    It all depends on how you pitch it in my opinion.
     

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