1. prettyvisitors

    prettyvisitors New Member

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    where to end a story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by prettyvisitors, Sep 15, 2018.

    Hi,

    the story I have planned feels like it would naturally consist of several novels/episodes (I haven't decided which media it would be), but I wouldn't know how to divide the story into parts.

    If I were writing the first novel, for example, where would be a good place to end the novel, or even a chapter? When you have written your own stories, what criteria did you think was needed to conclude one part of the story?
     
  2. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    I think novels should end with some sense of resolution to the main plotlines, but some sense that 'life goes on' and not everything is resolved.
    I think chapters should cover some number of related scenes, beginning and ending at notable points- either when something interesting concludes or something new pop ups that will take things in a different direction in the next chapter. You don't really want to just end a chapter right in the middle of something, before much of anything interesting happens in the chapter, or well after the interesting things conclude during the lead up to the next major interesting thing.
     
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  3. DeeDee

    DeeDee Senior Member

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    End with a resolution or with a cliffhanger :agreed:
     
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  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    If you want to be traditionally published, my understanding is that the novel must be acceptable as a standalone book.

    If you self publish (I note that I disapprove of self publishing in most cases) I suspect that it will still be a problem if your book doesn't have a satisfying resolution and the reader can't immediately buy the works that get them to a satisfying resolution. If you publish a cliffhanger and the resolution comes out eight months later, that sounds risky.

    There are exceptions, of course, but it’s dangerous to count on being an exception.
     
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  5. Infel

    Infel Senior Member

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    Look no further than Star Wars: A New Hope. Standalone movie? Yes! First in a trilogy? Yes!

    Its important that your first book be satisfying enough for your audience to be interested in buying a second, or third.
     
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  6. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I generally try to start at the begging then go on until the end and then stop
     
  7. katina

    katina Active Member

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    It does not have to end.
     
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  8. katina

    katina Active Member

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    delete.
     
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  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Well...it does have to. A book can't have infinite length. Even if you write another book and another, the first book will have an end. That's what the original post is asking.
     
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  10. katina

    katina Active Member

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    I meant a story can have infinite follow ups. An end does not always have to be. It is just a take on real life.
     
  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    OK, but that doesn't respond to the original question. I'm suggesting that reading the initial post of a thread is a good thing, rather than just responding to the thread title.
     
  12. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Its really a question that can't be answered without reading the story concerned
     
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  13. DeeDee

    DeeDee Senior Member

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    But how do you know you've reached the end and not just somewhere around the middle?

    Your're thinking about soap operas :supergrin:
     
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  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Generally you can tell where a story ends, or at least has a natural break - either with all key threads tied up or on a cliff hanger depending on the nature of the series. As I said above its impossible to say which would work best without reading the story
     
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  15. Ashley Watters

    Ashley Watters Member

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    What does the MC tell you? Get to know this person. You want the MC to get most of everything (or lose everything) desired. Your novel will end when you are satisfied you did everything you could for MC. Often our desires are larger than life can provide. What do similar MCs in similar works want? How long are those works? Length often depends on genre as taught on this forum elsewhere.

    If you want to write multiple stories in your universe, will the MC be the same in the next book? You can give in one book and take away in another or opposite. Your MC could deal with losing in the first book only to succeed in the next book. The first book still has to be self contained. In romance genre, characters often come back home for a second shot for love. There is no rule saying the MC can not win after losing. There is no rule that the MC will still want the same thing as time goes on or in the second book.

    The reality for us as writers: we have to write the story and be prepared for changes. If we do not start the progress, how will we know if it changes?
     
  16. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Write the story, the end will make itself known.
     
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  17. LarryM

    LarryM New Member

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    I try to end chapters with some sort of cliff-hanger; something that makes the reader want to continue. As for the end of the book, I recall when writing my first novel, I reached the point where I thought it was finished. Then I read it through from start to finish (I had already done that at many points.) When I got to the end, I realized it wasn't finished. There were unresolved issues, and questions that should have been answered in order to tie it together. I ended up adding several chapters, tying up loose ends, with a new major event at the end.

    At that point, it felt finished. It felt right.
     
  18. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    End it on a cliffhanger love triangle. :p

    IDK, having not read it, nor what it is about
    I cannot say how it would end. You have a lot
    of options. You could just simply write it like
    a Series with novel length chapters, something
    that never really seems to know how to end.
    Though I think long running series are just that
    due to the author not knowing how to end a story.
    There is the happy ending, where the protag wins,
    gets the love interest, and saves the day.
    The open ended cliff hanger, that suggests that
    things are over for now, but the protag went on
    with more adventures that are not going to be added
    in later in future installments.
    One you don't see too much anymore is the tragic ending
    where everybody dies, or fails at the end.
    Or the mixed bag of two or more altogether leaving an
    ending that muddies the water as to how the reader feels
    about the whole ordeal, wondering just what to think
    given the entire good/bad that they have gone through
    to get to the ending.

    In all technicality, it ends when you decide it should.
    How it ends should be dictated by the events along the
    way that actually meet the goals set out from the beginning.
    Just depends on how long you feel the story needs to be
    drawn out. The more complex it is, the easier it is to keep
    it running, however even the simplest goals can be stretched
    out with complex characters. So you will figure it out in the
    long run as to how it will end if you want it too. Or you will
    get bored and it will just end on whatever note was left behind
    from the last installment.
     
  19. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere...

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    I think that a chapter ends as soon as a conclusion is in some way reached. It doesn't have to be the ultimate conclusion that ends the conflict. It can be a minor one. For example, a chapter ends when it is decided that they will have their mother in law over for dinner. Or it ends when the weird cousin Eddy shows up.
     
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  20. Ian37

    Ian37 New Member

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    I think that solving some of the main conflicts within while still leaving others open for interpretation or even further elaboration is always a possible good bet. It means that the other soul may be satisfied while remaining to be a bit intrigued. Which then gives you the option of an eventual continuation or spin-off. Hey, if Murphy Brown can make a comeback!? You also of course have the option of closing up shop and letting the questions linger or remain unsolved.
     
  21. l nimbus

    l nimbus Member

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    You could always go the "Legend of Randidly Ghosthound" route, where it never stops, just keeps inventing new shtick for the readers to lap up.
     
  22. l nimbus

    l nimbus Member

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    Or one way to end a series: Turn everyone into murderers in the final chap. Not that good, but it gets he job done.
     

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