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Writer's Lounge Need advice? Want to give advice? Come on in and share ideas with your fellow writers. Just remember, all fics go in the main forum.


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  #1    
Old October 17th, 2013, 09:48 PM
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Slayr231
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Okay, I could use a little help here for ideas. How do you guys end stories? Do you just write until you feel like you can't write any more? I don't have any experience on this myself, since I've never actually completed a story, but I'm coming close and need a little help figuring it out. Do you tend to avoid cliche endings like killing off the main character, or does it just depend on the story?
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Old October 17th, 2013, 11:31 PM
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Captain Oshawott
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Personally, I like to leave it with a loose end when I'm ending it. That way, if an opportune moment strikes I can pick it right back up from where I left off. Not only that, but it usually leaves the readers wanting more.

But when I really mean to end it, I usually try to get all of my ideas out over a span of multiple chapters until I've reached a complete finish, closing off all branches and loose endings.

As for killing off the Main Character, I suppose it's truly about the moment and the adoration that a reader gives him/her. If the ending is supposed to mess with the audience's emotions, killing off the Main Character might not be a good place to turn. But if the ending is supposed to completely upset them, I say go for it.

Really, it all depends on how your character is. In one of my situations, I'll only off my main character if he was widely enjoyed by my audience, and I want the ending to be not so happy. It's a huge cliche, but it gets the job done. Other than that, I personally tend to avoid cliches like that, unless the mood/plot call for it.
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Old October 18th, 2013, 01:48 PM
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Don't take my advice too seriously because I don't really have a good track record ending stories, but for closing (ending) a story, what I'd do is tieing the main, one loose end that allows the conflict to continue going on or to resurface. Other things can be left "unsolved" (use the term with care!) even if they depend on it, but closing the main source of conflict allows the story to draw to a sense of a "job well done", whatever that means in your setting.

Re clichés, there's way too many of them. Killing off the main character, pair all the characters up, revealing that the main character was dead all along, etc. What to do with them mostly depends on what kind of feeling are you going on for with the ending. My personal favourite is to roll the main character back to square one, kind of - he's exerted himself and dedicated himself to end the conflict and now it's done, so now what? It gives the story a definitie sense that it takes place in a "real life".
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Old October 19th, 2013, 09:58 AM
Cutlerine
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It depends on the story. I usually like to seal off any loose ends - perhaps leaving one or two for the purposes of intrigue - and give a sense that the story is not actually over. I see my writing (or at least the writing that I post online) as a craft of entertainment, and as such I try to end and leave the reader wanting something more; for that reason, a lot of the stories I post here end with a sense that just because I have finished writing doesn't mean that the story itself is over - that life goes on, and with it new adventures.

If I do want to close something neatly, then I might parallel the words or phrases I used at the beginning, to contrast how far my characters have come from their initial positions; more than once, I've used a kind of sustained cataphora - that is, references to something that has not yet happened - to create a sense of subdued interest running through the final pages so that I can reveal something at the end, thereby giving the reader some sense of closure, real or imagined.

In short, ending stories - as I'm sure you've found out - is hard. I've never ended any two exactly the same way - or, if I've ended up concluding them in similar ways, it's only because I worked from two different positions that brought me to closely-related conclusions. The only general statement I can make is that a story is finished when there are no more words left to write. If everything is there, it's done. Sometimes, just leaving it at that, a simple ceasing to write, can be more effective than a more crafted ending. But again, as I said at the start, it depends on the story.

This... hasn't exactly been the world's most helpful post, I suppose, but hopefully it's got some ideas about how you might start thinking about writing an ending in it.

EDIT: Is killing off the main character a cliché? I'm not sure I've read more than one or two books where the main character just dies at the end, and those weren't exactly good books. Maybe the practice is more common in fanfiction; either way, I'd probably advise against it unless the story specifically calls for it. I don't think singular protagonists are really made to die.
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Old October 19th, 2013, 03:51 PM
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Slayr231
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutlerine View Post
EDIT: Is killing off the main character a cliché? I'm not sure I've read more than one or two books where the main character just dies at the end, and those weren't exactly good books. Maybe the practice is more common in fanfiction; either way, I'd probably advise against it unless the story specifically calls for it. I don't think singular protagonists are really made to die.
Well, it's commonly reffered to as a "lesser" way to end a story, if you get what I mean. A lot of people just think it takes little to no creativity to kill off a character. Especially when it's the main character and you're just doing that to end it. I've seen it done poorly too, but I have also seen it done pretty well. Take the film (I know it's not a book, but same principle applies) "American Beauty". I don't think there was a way for the main character to stay alive. Heck, the entire plot revolves about how he's going to die, and let me tell you, it's a complicated plot.

Yeah, I've just been throwing ideas around in my head and how each end would affect the story. I don't think I'll settle on an ending until the final chapter, but you guys have been extremely helpful so far. Thanks!
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