View Full Version : All's well that ends?

Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum

June 8th, 2006, 01:34 AM

I imagine we've covered this before in some form, or forum, so this may be more of a B5 rant. But I have two stories in progress in my files, and I'm having ending problems.

For one I have almost finished the first draft, and they've solved the problem, and I'm left with the characters standing around looking at each other (and at me) thinking, 'Well, now what?' I've stumbled into postclimactic limbo.

The other is worse. I had a great beginning, which stumbled around into a confused plot that went nowhere until I wrote the end, then went back almost to the beginning and started rewritting with that end in mind. But now I find myself trying to hold on to the end I have and not really exploring options which might change where it goes... (You know, when I put it like that, it seems obvious.)

So let me ask. How do you end a story when you can't find a good ending?

Any input would be appreciated.


June 8th, 2006, 03:50 AM
There are always many threads in a story:

- Plot: How is the plot resolved?
- Theme: Are any philosophical questions answered? Explored? Any aesthetic organisation principles satisfied?
- Character: Has any character unresolved issues near the end?

Post-climactic limbo: The plot's resolved ("the problem's solved"), so what about theme? Characters? Can you summarise the plot by wrapping up theme, or by showing a - hitherto perhaps neglected - charater's take on what's happened? (One word: Aftermath)

All's well that ends well, but nothing really ends, so... (and it's not the monster stirring at the end of the movie I have mind...)

Endcentered Writing: That one's tougher; perhaps you could try a non-linear writing approach? Kind of like outlining and then filling in the blanks (solving a crossword puzzle; like: character feeling in slot one that advances the plot; or mysterious gizmo in slot eighty-seven that adds both to theme and characterisation but is a red-herring plot-wise...).

It's very hard to talk about that without specifics, though.

June 8th, 2006, 05:28 AM
So let me ask. How do you end a story when you can't find a good ending?

This probably will not help but you dont end stories. the end to books is merely beginnings of more questions, whether you leave it open ended or you try and close it completely there will always be questions. You could always speculate and contemplate the questions you want a reader to ask when they put the book down? I've heard it can work for some??

As for not being able to budge from the ending you have already achieved. This has only happened with me once and i took my characters on a side journey or two. not necessariy in the same context as the book. but you will explore them more. then i did similar things to my plot line, put it into different contexts and see what happened with it. It's time consuming to do so but it finished my piece off for me.

But like DS said it's had to give more advice without specifics.

~ Tari

June 8th, 2006, 06:27 AM
I think Tari makes some good points, one of the best pieces of advice I've heard about endings is that 'Everything ends badly otherwise it wouldn't end'.
A lot of the time obstinancy plays a huge part in writing, especially if you have a lot of material behind you or only one idea that lead you into the story in the first place. Your best bet for the second one is decide whether you really have a story to fit the set-in-stone ending, I've forced plenty of tales based solely on one great scene that leapt at me, or some final sentence to a story that gave me goosebumps about what had happened previously - only to find I didn't know either :D