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  1. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    A not wrapped up ending

    Discussion in 'Novels' started by OB1, Feb 2, 2018.

    I know I should concentrate on writing the first book before thinking about a trilogy, however, I am currently writing a fantasy novel, which I intend to spread over 3 novels. The ending of the first (which I am currently writing) won't have a wrap up ending, i.e. Will remain open for parts 2 and 3. My idea is that in the end of book 1 the ultimate antagonist (A Dark Lordesque character) will be unleashed from their prison because of a certain event happening. Thus leading to the second book which will be all about how this dark lord takes over the known world and the struggles of life under his dominion, then the third book will be how the dark lord will be thwarted once and for all.

    My question is, for a reader, is this a good idea or am I setting myself up to annoy people? I figured that I am more likely to get published if I have a series of novels on the cards.

    Thanks

    OB1
     
  2. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    What is the first book about from the protagonists perspective?

    Say there is a magic scroll, and that the hero has to read it in front of all the townspeople to free the princess from the curse. He reads it, she wakes up, and they live happily ever after. Unbeknownst it to the hero, half of the big bad's magic was tied up in the scroll, and now that it's been read, he gets it back.

    The book would follow the hero. The hero gets an ending (like a medal around Hans and Luke's necks) but the big bad has his 5 minutes of fame at the end.
     
  3. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

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    It will annoy people :twisted: But that shouldn't stop you from doing whatever you like with your book. If you leave the ending dangling in mid air, the reader might get the impression that you weren't able to come up with a proper one. If your book is self-published, lots of people would be wary to pick the next book because how can they trust that you would provide a proper ending for that one? Unless, of course, your first book is totally amazeballs, so much so that the readers won't be able to sleep until they get their hands on the next installment of the story. It's much easier to go the expected route and finish the first volume with some sort of resolution. It doesn't have to solve everything but it must look like a complete arc of some sort. It could be a personal arc, where the main character starts clueless and by the end they find a clue to their life, or it may be a mini-adventure where they start chasing the baddie unprepared and by the end of the book they are well-trained and ready to face the enemy.
     
  4. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    It will annoy people. The most cynical will also see it as a marketing ploy to coerce them to buy the next book.

    Your book, your call, but that's what a lot of readers will be thinking.
     
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  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    This sounds like your goal is traditional publishing. My understanding is that the first novel MUST be able to stand alone. If it doesn't, you're making it less likely (perhaps impossible) that you will get published.

    That doesn't mean that pointers to later events are forbidden, but the first novel needs a satisfying ending.
     
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  6. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I’ve heard that as well.
     
  7. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    Thanks all, yes my goal is traditional publishing ultimately. Looks like I'm going to have to rethink my approach!#
     
  8. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    Standing alone doesn't mean it has to be end of story, but it does mean that the main story arc for the novel should be complete. It needs to be a satisfying read, not a 'cliffhanger' like weekly television programs tend to do.

    If you were self-publishing. and you had the trilogy complete so that the reader could go right to the next novel, it might work, but even then, as suggested, it could be considered annoying and a shallow marketing ploy if it simply ends with a big revelation leading into the next novel. They will anticipate the same for the next novel...

    Of course, if it is highly engaging read, it probably won't matter as much for most readers.

    But I agree with what has been stated above: That you'd improve your chances for finding a publisher, if the novel were complete and not have a wrap up or an ending, are slimmer.
     
  9. jannert

    jannert Super Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    We have at least one forum member, @JE Loddon , who has just self-published the third in his sci-fi series. I have read the first two and have bought the third one, intending to read it soon. I have really enjoyed these stories thus far. There is a story situation that carries over, but each of the stories comes to a satisfying conclusion. The protagonist's current situation is resolved at the end of each one, but there is obviously more to come. I think Mr Loddon has done an excellent job of handling the partitioning of his story. You could do worse than take a look at how he's done it.
     
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  10. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I've been watching some short story classes online, including one given by Mary Robinette Kowal, where she talks about the mice quotient. Here is a graphic from Writing Excuses:

    [​IMG]

    She explains that stories are the most satisfying when you close them out in the opposite order you opened them.

    <m><e><c><c><e><m> for example, could be a story where the characters enter a new land, a crisis happens, and the hero goes through a period of angst. He resolves his feelings, saves the day, then leaves the area. She says that sometimes when a story feels like it has multiple endings or ends badly, its because the elements were closed out in the wrong order - like waiting to resolve the angst after saving the day and leaving.

    I'm bringing this up to ask a question. Does this apply to series? Do you close out one book like this: <m><e><c><c><e> and then leave the last one open and unresolved, or do you have to put that stamp on it?
     
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  11. jannert

    jannert Super Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's a very interesting idea, and one I haven't encountered in this way before. The notion that story elements finish in reverse order from how they started? I'll have to think about it. You might be on to something here. It might well contribute to story satisfaction, or the feeling the reader often has, when closing a book, that everything that should have happened did happen, even though it might not have been expected.
     
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