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peacekeeper
December 19th, 2003, 01:00 AM
Hey I'm new and I hope I'm not breaking a rule and asking a question that has already been asked - but I looked and didn't see anything like this...so here's to hoping...

I'm really weak at endings. For me to end a book or short story is a large task, and it just doesn't seem to click or flow as easily as writing the story. If any one would have any tips or suggestions I would really appreciate it. I read the character development tips, that's another area I am weak in, and I think I have that problem solved.

Calis
December 19th, 2003, 09:09 AM
Originally posted by peacekeeper
If any one would have any tips or suggestions

yeh stop writing.

speculative-one
December 19th, 2003, 11:42 AM
Originally posted by peacekeeper
I'm really weak at endings. For me to end a book or short story is a large task, and it just doesn't seem to click or flow as easily as writing the story.

To write a story until its end, you need a direction. I have had this problem before, and I realized that I was simply mucking about. Everything should be leading toward the ending; if it's not, evaluate if it really needs to be in there. That's about all there is to it. To write an ending, you need to have it in your mind from the start that you're going to write an ending. Heck, pick a page and stick to it. I.e. "This story is going to end on page 231." That will cause you to make hard decisions about what to keep in and what to cut out, rather than just adding things or changing them. I'm sure there's a ton of other advice out there as well...

-speculative

JRMurdock
December 19th, 2003, 01:09 PM
I guess I'm a little different writer. I prefer to start at the end and figure out how the character(s) got there in the first place. I usually don't sit down and just start writing. If I've got an idea, I'll write down the basics and sit on it for a while. I'll keep coming back to that idea and add to it until I know where it starts and where it ends. Once I've got Point A and Point B, the characters usually find their own way and I just type out what they're doing.

That works for Short stories. For Novels, I try to plot out each chapter (usually writting a paragraph for each chapter). Once I know what's going to happen in a chapter, I can then write through the begining and end and allow the characters to flow through. Using this approach, I've been able to come up with more material and usually more chapters. I never allow the outline to be engraved in stone and it morphs as I write.

Mostly I don't start the begining of any story until I know the end.

Maus99

Thekherham
December 19th, 2003, 01:27 PM
I'm not much good at endings either, except for the novel I'm currently working on. I've had the ending to this thing in sight a long time ago. I know exatly (exactly??) where my characters are going and what they'll be doing when they get there.

Other works? *shrugs. Not so good in the ending department. I'm not too bad at beginnings, and movign the story along, bu then it's like, What do these characters hope to accomlish? What is a satisfying conclusion?

Bardos
December 19th, 2003, 02:05 PM
I never know the end when I begin (except in short stories). I know the characters, the situation, the world; then, I write, and see how it goes. Usually, about mid-way through the story, I know how it will end. The unpredictability (sic) and the "fog of war" is what intrigues me in writing, so I was never a good planner of lay-outs.

Rocket Sheep
December 28th, 2003, 11:33 PM
I use Bardos' method for long stories too... and it is goddamned frustrating!

Because I don't know the ending until I get there I have so much tidying up to do on the rewrites and I usually add a couple of subplots and that almost always changes the ending again... 90% of the time the first ending I come up with is rubbish.

For short stories I always know the ending. I work the whole thing out in my head. Usually short stories are only one or two dimensional tho. Novels are complex things with lots of subplots, and possible outcomes, and my brain storage capacity just isn't that strong, so I layer the story in rewrites. It would be impossible for me to keep the timelines and characters and subplots all straight in my head and pour them out like some kind of machine. So I write the main one, full of flaws and then layer, change, manipulate, rework... eventually I get to something I'm OK about showing my crit group and then they tear it to shreds and I rewrite it a couple more times.

My advice: just write it, don't be all precious about it, don't be afraid to change it or expect it to come easily or expect to get it right first time.

Bardos
December 29th, 2003, 02:42 AM
My advice: just write it, don't be all precious about it, don't be afraid to change it or expect it to come easily or expect to get it right first time.

Yep!

Btw, don't think that I remember everything. My memory, to tell the truth, is a very whimsical thing, on the low side of strenght; so, I keep notes as I go. The notes on my latest project were almost as big as the books themselves (!). But the point is that I couldn't write all that stuff from the begining, and, if I didn't write them as I wrote the story, then I would be completely lost.

kahnovitch
December 29th, 2003, 06:14 AM
Originally posted by JimmyThe Hand


yeh stop writing.

Well that's very supportive Jimmy. If everyone who ever had problems writing followed your advice, there would be nothing to read, period.

In response to the original question, endings don't have to be set in stone. Even Hollywood directors often shoot several alternative endings until thy find the one they use.
You could try that method. Take the story down several possible endings and see which one appeals to you or makes the most sense to the story.

Hellsfire
December 29th, 2003, 09:02 PM
That's why I say outline so you won't have the problem. Better spending a couple of days on an outline than weeks or months typing out a manuscript and seeing that it goes nowhere because you have to change a plot point.