1. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    would you feel cheated?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by erebh, Oct 4, 2013.

    I'm writing a short story about a little boy who gets into trouble with his ma - it's about 3-4000 words and hopefully will be a funny, at least humorous slant from the boy's POV. Would you feel cheated if you never actually find out what he did wrong?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    No, not if his transgression wasn't the point of the story. Who hasn't done the same thing, just relating anecdotes about their childhoods to their friends? "I remember when I was a kid and my mom was mad at me for some reason - I don't remember why - and then she said ..." Etc. If it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.
     
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  3. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I agree with Minstrel.
     
  4. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    Not cheated no, but I probably would feel curious or just slightly disappointed. Why? Because from what you're telling me, his wrongdoing is the driving force behind the story, to not dissolve the tension of 'what' he did would probably leave me slightly disapponted. Then again, if the story spirals away from his wrongdoing and his trangression becomes less and less prevalent throughout the narrative, then I would have no issue with not-knowing at all. To me, it boils down to having a closed vs an open ending, I prefer the former, but the latter (when done well) has more impact.
     
  5. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah I was hoping to keep the reader curious all the way through but then not even realise they don't find out what the boy actually did
     
  6. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    @erebh I'd be very interested in reading it actually, how are you planning to release it? (what platform/format?)
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    MacGuffins need not be tangible.
     
  8. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Macarberz I'll email it to you if you like - on Word :)
     
  9. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    i dont think i would feel cheated, especially if the story was humorous, and there were all sorts of twisty hints dropped that really got the reader wondering. just think of the "spaghetti incident" from the calvin & hobbes cartoons. nobody knows what it was, but it must've really been something, because no one's supposed to talk about it.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    can't tell without reading it... is it meant for young readers?... if so, what age range?... and where do you intend to submit it?
     
  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    For me it depends. If it all hangs on a twist ending ( i.e. the writer playing the reader ) it feels a little manufactured - a nice jolt but rather
    hallow. But if the story is more focused on reactions to what he did, than the ending of not telling would be more natural, less forced.
     
  12. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    I agree with peachalulu. Depends on how it ends. I'd be annoyed with a cliff hanger type ending, teasing the reader about it kind of thing. But if the story comes together and is interesting without ever needing to tell it, then I think it could work great!
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Maia -- hard to say without reading it. I suspect it's probably okay, but whether it would bother me would depend on a lot of factors, such as whether the MC knows, how important it seems to the story, whether the punishment seems so severe that it makes you wonder what on earth warranted it, etc.
     
  14. Mikewritesfic
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    Mikewritesfic Senior Member

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    Without reading it, I'd say that chances are I would feel cheated. Much depends on the plot and the style of writing though.
     
  15. Dawnless Sky
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    Dawnless Sky Member

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    It depends. If you do build up the reader's curiosity by hinting at it then probably yes. Don't be a tease :p
    If you don't however and the tension is built up around the conversation then nah... we don't need to know.
     
  16. wolfenburg
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    wolfenburg Member

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    At least hint at something maybe, then leave it up to the interpretation of the reader. In my experience interpretation is always more fulfilling that the answer. Kind of how the scariest movies never show the monster.
     
  17. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    It'd be fun to leave subtle hints around the story if ya like
     
  18. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    [quote="chicagoliz, post: 1153071, member: 38553" ...whether the punishment seems so severe that it makes you wonder what on earth warranted it, etc.[/quote]

    That's my whole point, if you enjoyed the story but saw yourself as a naughty schoolboy or your little son with his horribly guilty but Angelic innocent blushing cheeks and wide eyes with his pockets turned out and the carpet full of frogs and matches would you feel cheated if you never found out what he actually did or would you just think, ha that was funny... wonder what he did... smiley face! - If of course you got to chuckle throughout...
     
  19. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just don't know the answer for certain without reading it. I could very well imagine myself thinking throughout the story, "okay, but what did he do?" and then being annoyed if I didn't find out. But I can also see it is possible to read it, and as you say, chuckle throughout, and not need to know.

    I wish I could be more helpful.
     
  20. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    @erebh: This thread almost reminds me of the gyrations I sometimes went through to get out of doing an assignment in school. Having trouble deciding what he actually did wrong?:D
     

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