1. AdTheMan3

    AdTheMan3 New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1

    Help with writing a satisfying ending

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by AdTheMan3, May 16, 2021.

    Hi! I'm new here but I've been trying to write a book for a while now and I've recently started and I've been having a really hard time coming up with a satisfying conclusion.

    So my story is about a teenage girl who gets sealed in a stone that keeps her frozen in place and is stuck for thousands of years. She is then freed but the world has been destroyed and is basically a different planet and she is the only survivor. It follows her struggle to survive and her search to find any other remaining human life on earth.

    My problem is this, first of all the main character is gay and I would like to not fall into the "bury your gays" cliche and I'm also just having a hard time in general coming up with a satisfying ending to a story like this. Do I have her discover a surviving civilization? Does she simply live out the rest of her life alone? Do I leave it ambiguous? I'm having a really hard time deciding. So I'd love to hear your thoughts!

    Please leave any ideas or advice in the replies! Thank you!
     
  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2021
    Messages:
    1,230
    Likes Received:
    850
    How long is the book? Is this like the movie 'Castaway' where there is not much dialogue at all? What does she do for most of the book and what types of challenges does she face?
     
    AdTheMan3 likes this.
  3. AdTheMan3

    AdTheMan3 New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm currently planning on making it around 200ish pages long. And there will be a good amount of dialogue because I am planning on having the main character talk with an imaginary version of the girl she was in love with. I have never seen castaway but from I've heard of it, yes this will be somewhat similar. For most of the book she will be discovering how the planet has changed and trying to survive the new dangerous creatures that she encounter as well as building shelter and hunting for food. Once she gets to a stable position she will begin to search for signs of human life in hopes that some humans have still survived.
     
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    10,773
    Likes Received:
    18,124
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    The obvious answer is that the MC finds another survivor just when all hope seems lost.
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  5. Hammer

    Hammer Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2018
    Messages:
    1,884
    Likes Received:
    3,662
    Location:
    UK
    How about making the girlfriend real and having your MC pleased that she is not alone in your godless world... only finally to work out that she is, and the friend is a product of her imagination - have a read of Yann Martel's Life of Pi
     
  6. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5,151
    Likes Received:
    4,231
    Location:
    Australia
    Find out what the story is really about. That will help determine both the challenges faced and the end of the story. It can be ambiguous, but it has to be an interesting ambiguous. As in, we need to have already established motivation and dilemma for the character so we understand the ramifications of any possible outcome after the ambiguous end.

    Ask: why do people care about this struggle to survive? Just a story of survival isn't interesting. Is there an end goal? Many post-apocalyptic stories have people going somewhere to seek refuge, salvation, hope. Others are about surviving and beating an external threat: a villain or creature. Reaching this goal / defeating this enemy, or not, or even maybe, would be your end.

    The gay element doesn't seem relevant.
     
  7. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2021
    Messages:
    1,230
    Likes Received:
    850
    There are many possibilities but as mentioned your plot and themes will help determine what the most suitable endings are.

    You could have her find someone else that was also frozen, find some other civilization, have her mission evolve to protect the remaining flora and fauna on the planet, etc. It's up to you.

    You mentioned that she was frozen in a stone. You could have an ending where she realizes whatever we do, even after we are gone, is set in stone whether we want it to be or not. I don't know what that even means, I just made it up so don't take it too seriously.
     
    Xoic likes this.
  8. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5,151
    Likes Received:
    4,231
    Location:
    Australia
    How about: as she struggle to survive, have her discover human history, from her being trapped right up to that point, revealing what has happened and how, and she feels determined to survive as the final witness to humanity. because without memory, it all vanishes. Until she finally dies, and the memories all die with her, to vanish into eternity as if we'd never been.
     
  9. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Slaint—ź mhaith Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2021
    Messages:
    4,393
    Likes Received:
    3,771
    Being gay is normal. Be innovative and write the story without making it a plot twist. ;)
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  10. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2019
    Messages:
    9,798
    Likes Received:
    10,476
    Location:
    Way, way out there
    Offered to stir the imagination. This was once called the shortest story in the world i think, and I've probably forgotten the precise wording. But:

    The last man in the world sat in his dark living room when there came a knock at the door...

    I once wrote a (beginning for a) story set in a sort of zombie apocalypse (only the zombies didn't eat flesh or anything, mostly just stood or shuffled around aimlessly staring) where the lone survivor was living convinced he was the last person alive when one evening he noticed a light on in a high apartment across the city that hadn't been on previously. Wow, was that really all one sentence??!! :supershock:
     
    Not the Territory likes this.
  11. Haskll1

    Haskll1 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2019
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    This sounds like a great idea. Ever played Metroid games? Tne main character is an adventurer who is apt at using tech and weapons. Maybe the girls used to study typically male stuff? (polytechnic, etc.) And it's constantly raining. How about suspending the fact that she's really looking for human life while she's trying to survive and find hints about the environment? How about encountering only holograms/videos of people, and maybe in the end only showing her finding a new hint about possible survivors but never showing her getting there? How about suspending the fact that she's gay and only progressively revealing it through the flashbacks? To amplify her loneliness, the flashback might also dehumanize the people she used to know, for instance by presenting them as short flashing images etc.
     
  12. Auspere

    Auspere New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2020
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    10
    I think you have a wonderful premise.

    Here is how I would hope the story to play out. When she reaches a stable position and begins to search for civilization, she doesn't find any to begin with, however after some time she finds clues that might indicate that there are other survivors. After a while, she manages to find a small group, however they are themselves soon moving their camp to find other survivors, so she joins them. The group is split when they find another group of survivors, as some of them want to remain with this group who is in a relatively stable position, while others want to continue to find a larger community as some of them believe that this exits. She is in the middle but decides to remain with the group as she gets on very well with a girl in this group. The group she is in slowly realizes that they may have made the wrong decision staying, and decides to follow the one that left earlier, if not finding the community, at least to find a better place for themselves. The new place they find doesn't end up being that much better, but they are relatively happy where they are.

    Don't tell how you decide to go, I would love to find out in the book!
     
    John McNeil and Hammer like this.
  13. GraceLikePain

    GraceLikePain Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2020
    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    504
    I hate to be gauche, but it seems odd you'd pick a gay character for this kind of survival situation. My first thought is about repopulating the planet, which could bring about awkward situations for a gay person in the midst of a group of survivors. That could potentially be a source of conflict.

    But what exactly is your intention here? Would you like to go for a more action story (assuming the character meets others to have actions), or were you thinking closer to one of those naturalist survival stories like Island of the Blue Dolphins or Robinson Crusoe? If you go for the latter, you're going to need to do a lot of research on nature and survival techniques. Farming, hunting, shelter building, that kind of thing. Or if you wanted, you could go aliens. Like, the character is out there surviving, and the reader thinks she's doing kind of okay, but then cut to a scene of aliens or something examining her mind, the mind of the last human and the thoughts she was having before she died.

    Lol, sorry, that was a bit morbid.
     
  14. trevorD

    trevorD Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2021
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    175
    One thing I think about is having there be a controversy in the main character's life that gets revealed early in the book during the portion where I do character development. I tie the end into having the person overcome whatever it was that was laid out earlier.
     
  15. Haskll1

    Haskll1 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2019
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    OP just needs to work at normalizing the homosexuality of his plot. How? Well, he might show characters or flashbacks of other characters who are also gay, or fluid. Or portray heterosexual relationships more negatively. Or imply that the main character may have had some heterosexual interactions, but that those experiences were negative. Or that her parents were very prejudiced, and that originally pushed her towards gay interactions just to contradict them. Or that she may have originally engaged in a gay interaction for some opportunist reasons (e. g. carreer, grades, to anger her parents etc.), but later found out that her feelings were genuine....
     
  16. Storysmith

    Storysmith Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2014
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    312
    I wouldn't worry about the "bury your gays" trope. You're killing off everybody but a gay character, so you're inverting the trope if anything.

    But the problem sounds to me that you have a setting and a character, but no plot. You can't come up with a satisfying ending until you have that. What is she going to be doing and getting up to besides surviving? Once you answer that, you may well see the answer to how to end the story.
     
  17. Kalisto

    Kalisto Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2015
    Messages:
    934
    Likes Received:
    956
    I couldn't say what you should or shouldn't do, but we can break down what makes a satisfying ending versus what makes an ending where no one cares, or worse are disappointed. The fact your character is gay is practically irrelevant. I can get into why the killing gay trope was so annoying, but that's a bit off topic.

    With that said, let's get into what an ending is. There are three major pillars to character development: goals, motive, and conflict. What does your hero want (goal), why do they want it (motive), and what's keeping them from having it (conflict)? Everything else about your character's development is all about what choices your character makes and how they work problems out, which is what creates the skin of your character's personality.

    So, what does this have to do with ending? Well, at its core, an ending is the conclusion of the conflict. This doesn't change regardless if you choose to include an epilogue or not. And good endings involve not just the conclusion to the conflict, but also a) follows the logic of the book and b) involves an actual sacrifice to get there. The logic of the book will depend entirely on your world building and themes and sacrifice what your character eventually has to let go to see to that end. If characters never struggle, they're fully capable, they just have to get over everyone else's prejudice (ie, everyone else is the problem, MC is perfect and it's everyone else being homophobic for not recognizing how amazing they are) then you can put any ending in there you want, and no one is going to care.

    So, with this said, should you avoid tropes? Not really. Not if that makes the difference between an okay ending and a truly satisfying ending, then by all means, go for the trope! Subserting expectations for its own sake, does not work.
     
    Abciximab likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice