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"The story must have an ending?" Options · View
MorganHawke
Posted: Monday, April 25, 2011 4:35:36 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 347
Location: The suburbs.
----- Original Message -----
...There's a Short Fiction Contest going on. I already thought of my theme and I have a complete first draft. But, I'm confused. One of the rules says "The story must have an ending." I don't know what that means. You see, usually I like to end my stories with a feeling that the characters go on with their lives even after the plot is solved. Thing is, I don't know if that could be considered an "open ending" or "inconclusive ending" or whatsoever, or not even an ending at all!
-- Anxious Contestant

It means that your story must be more than just a ramble of words. In order for a Story to BE a a Story, it must Say something, Show something, or Prove something. A story must make a POINT.

Think: What are you trying to SAY with your story?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Love Conquers All
Greed makes one Greedier
Love = Insanity
Love doesn't always mean Happiness
Love isn't always Nice
You Reap what you Sow
No good deed goes Unpunished.
You can't escape Yourself
A Snake will always be a Snake
Sometimes, Love means Letting Go
Sometimes, Love means Giving In
Appetites will find a way to be Filled
Revenge only brings Misery

A story ends when you prove your point. Seriously. It has nothing to do with whether your characters live on or die at the end.

What matters is that:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Monsters are faced.
Emotional hang-ups are dealt with.
Problems end up solved.
What was begun - finishes.

Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

CharlotteRusse1
Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2011 9:22:26 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/9/2011
Posts: 200
Location: United States
I think the last few stories I wrote so far are just chapters, not stories. Haven't got the knack of a real ending yet. Ending a story is a good ambition to work toward..

Writer of amateur erotica since 2011..See the latest at:

MorganHawke
Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2011 10:34:41 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 347
Location: The suburbs.
CharlotteRusse1 wrote:
I think the last few stories I wrote so far are just chapters, not stories. Haven't got the knack of a real ending yet. Ending a story is a good ambition to work toward..


Even I have trouble with endings. Despite my dedicated plotting, my stories can and do wander to places I don't expect.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

GallagherWitt
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 4:28:37 AM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 99
Location: Okinawa, Japan
MorganHawke wrote:
CharlotteRusse1 wrote:
I think the last few stories I wrote so far are just chapters, not stories. Haven't got the knack of a real ending yet. Ending a story is a good ambition to work toward..


Even I have trouble with endings. Despite my dedicated plotting, my stories can and do wander to places I don't expect.


Amen to that. Endings are tricky beasts. I have a tendency to write my endings very early on (I write out of sequence), but at least 1/3 of the time, that ending ends up changing numerous times before the first draft is finished. The last book I finished wound up, during editing, losing the epilogue and about half of the last chapter, and I rewrote it to give it a slightly different ending. Ironically, the epilogue left the story feeling incomplete and the ending rushed, but now it has a better finish...while still leaving it open for the sequel. Definitely was NOT the ending I had in mind when I started.

Lori
L. A. Witt (gay male erotic romance)
Lauren Gallagher (heterosexual erotic romance)
Twitter: GallagherWitt
My Website * My Blog * Marginally Unhinged (my webcomic)

"Service with a Smirk, that's you." - Morgan Hawke
nicola
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 4:40:35 AM

Rank: Matriarch

Joined: 12/6/2006
Posts: 24,874
Location: Sydney, Australia
What ever happened to leaving the audience wanting more? I think that certainly has a place in short stories. For novels, I totally agree with your post.

It's like when you're watching a movie and you have to decide for yourself how it probably ended. That's sometimes an interesting way to finish, but quite often, irritating!
MorganHawke
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 5:56:18 AM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 347
Location: The suburbs.
Whoops double-posted by accident.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

MorganHawke
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 6:05:07 AM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 347
Location: The suburbs.
nicola wrote:
What ever happened to leaving the audience wanting more? I think that certainly has a place in short stories. For novels, I totally agree with your post.

Leaving the reading audience wanting more stories is fine. Leaving the reader frustrated because the author didn't tie up the story's main issue is bad. I despise books where you MUST read the next in the series to find out what happened in That story. In my eyes, that's Cheating.

nicola wrote:
It's like when you're watching a movie and you have to decide for yourself how it probably ended. That's sometimes an interesting way to finish, but quite often, irritating!

You're more than welcome to like that sort of ending. I DON'T. I definitely won't read someone who does this consistently. At least tie up the main plot issue. The rest can be as vague as the author likes.



Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

sprite
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 9:12:19 AM

Rank: Her Royal Spriteness

Joined: 6/18/2010
Posts: 13,664
Location: My Tower, United States
oh! this reminds me of a story. A few years ago, i spent a summer in Peru with a celebrity (i won't mention his name) on a Llama ranch in the mountains. One weekend, a trio of drug smugglers got lost and drove up through the gates, like just minutes ahead of some sort of hit squad. My celebrity friend gave me the keys to the basement (it had been locked and off limits to me before) and told me to grab some weapons. I mean, seriously, turns out he had a small armory down there, as well as a fully stocked dungeon AND a submarine yard! wow! so yeah, we armed our selves and...

Magical_felix
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 10:19:58 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 4/3/2010
Posts: 4,548
Location: California
sprite wrote:
oh! this reminds me of a story. A few years ago, i spent a summer in Peru with a celebrity (i won't mention his name) on a Llama ranch in the mountains. One weekend, a trio of drug smugglers got lost and drove up through the gates, like just minutes ahead of some sort of hit squad. My celebrity friend gave me the keys to the basement (it had been locked and off limits to me before) and told me to grab some weapons. I mean, seriously, turns out he had a small armory down there, as well as a fully stocked dungeon AND a submarine yard! wow! so yeah, we armed our selves and...




Was that celebrity the most interesting man in the world? laughing8




sprite
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 11:19:35 AM

Rank: Her Royal Spriteness

Joined: 6/18/2010
Posts: 13,664
Location: My Tower, United States
On a more serious note... sometimes, it works. movie-wise, the first thing that comes to mind is Inception. ok, so, the reason it works is that it DOES tie up the story line, it gives you a choice between endings, admittedly, but there is an ending, and it gives you something to work over for hours days weeks - a debate of sorts about what really happened - i left that movie both satisfied AND with so many questions. i think it can be done well like that - a vague ending, if you will - thing is, with novels, you invest days or weeks in reading them and you want a pay off. i have read short stories that were opened ended, and enjoyed them - sort of a moment in time, a story that went on, leaving you to finish it if you will... but, i think they work because they are merely a moment in time, and usually, i've only put an hour or less into reading them. it gave me time to be invested, but not so much that i NEEDED that solid ending. it's ok, in my mind, to have things that aren't tied up, minor plot lines, etc, but dammit, the major characters and story thread had BETTER be tied up (unless, of course, it's the first of a trilogy where it's understood that it's only the first third of the story).
MorganHawke
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 9:00:48 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 347
Location: The suburbs.
sprite wrote:
oh! this reminds me of a story. A few years ago, i spent a summer in Peru with a celebrity (i won't mention his name) on a Llama ranch in the mountains. One weekend, a trio of drug smugglers got lost and drove up through the gates, like just minutes ahead of some sort of hit squad. My celebrity friend gave me the keys to the basement (it had been locked and off limits to me before) and told me to grab some weapons. I mean, seriously, turns out he had a small armory down there, as well as a fully stocked dungeon AND a submarine yard! wow! so yeah, we armed our selves and...


Cliffhanger -- AUGH!

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

MorganHawke
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 9:03:07 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 347
Location: The suburbs.
sprite wrote:
... it's ok, in my mind, to have things that aren't tied up, minor plot lines, etc, but dammit, the major characters and story thread had BETTER be tied up...


Exactly.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

CumGirl
Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012 1:54:49 PM

Rank: Attention Whore

Joined: 7/23/2011
Posts: 2,240
Location: United Kingdom
sprite wrote:
but dammit, the major characters and story thread had BETTER be tied up (unless, of course, it's the first of a trilogy where it's understood that it's only the first third of the story).


So this isn't a good place for me to mention Herman Melville's "Bartleby The Scrivener" ... though he does die, so I guess that is an ending of sorts.

Yes, you should have a hazard label on you, "warning CG will be your every fantasy"



DLizze
Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2012 10:16:06 PM

Rank: Story Verifier

Joined: 4/23/2011
Posts: 2,512
Bartleby is one of my favorite stories, precisely because of the ending.

"There's only three tempos: slow, medium and fast. When you get between in the cracks, ain't nuthin' happenin'." Ben Webster
CumGirl
Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 4:42:25 AM

Rank: Attention Whore

Joined: 7/23/2011
Posts: 2,240
Location: United Kingdom
MorganHawke wrote:
----- Original Message -----
A story ends when you prove your point. Seriously. It has nothing to do with whether your characters live on or die at the end.

What matters is that:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Monsters are faced.
Emotional hang-ups are dealt with.
Problems end up solved.
What was begun - finishes.



Whereas, Melville, leaves us with a dead scrivener, rumour and an analogy between Bartleby's life and the fate of dead letters. Nothing is truly resolved and what the reader is left with is an inconclusive narrative and questions.

Which was the point to my post, that actually writing can do more than simply find resolution it can leave the reader seeking understanding.

Yes, you should have a hazard label on you, "warning CG will be your every fantasy"



deadlogger
Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 12:18:39 PM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 11/2/2012
Posts: 18
Location: United Kingdom
Sounds as if your suggesting the story should have a moral instead of being just a dirty turn-on tale.
bustyreadhead
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 2:12:31 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 11/30/2012
Posts: 158
Location: seattle, United States
i'm not a writer, and i obviously don't know the process - so i'm really surprised. i would have thought for sure that you'd start with the ending/point and work your way back from/toward there.

i don't think it ever occurred to me you'd conceptualize a story from the beginning on.
DXM
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 2:27:47 PM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 11/26/2012
Posts: 17
Location: United States
Wow, what a great thread this is. Other than underscoring everything MorganHawke said, my two cents here from here and there:

CumGirl: The Bartelby point is an excellent one, and it's one that used to bug me a lot. I reread it last summer for the first time since high school, and it worked better for me this time round. The difference for for me was that before I thought of it as a story about Bartelby and his odd "I would prefer not to" quirk. Now when I read it I view it as a story about the actual narrator, whose fascination with Bartelby subtly paints a picture of a man on the verge of becoming aware of the pointlessness of his life's drudgery, but who tragically never quite gets there. I don't mean to suggest that this is what Melville had meant, but I found it worked as a more complete tale when I viewed it as such. And I loved that I had to take the time and bandwidth to puzzle out the right interpretation for me. For whatever that's worth.

bustyreadhead: I think a lot of writers do in fact start from the ending. But a lot of times on your path back to your original point, you find you've ended up somewhere entirely different.

Once again, this is just a great thread.
sprite
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 4:35:19 PM

Rank: Her Royal Spriteness

Joined: 6/18/2010
Posts: 13,664
Location: My Tower, United States
bustyreadhead wrote:
i'm not a writer, and i obviously don't know the process - so i'm really surprised. i would have thought for sure that you'd start with the ending/point and work your way back from/toward there.

i don't think it ever occurred to me you'd conceptualize a story from the beginning on.


my method: i come up with characters and a starting point and an idea of where i want the story to go- usually, if i have a vague idea for an ending, it shifts a lot, depending on where it feels natural for the evolution of the characters to take it - sometimes it's close to what i intended, other times, that ending feels forced and unnatural in the context of what has gone before, so i go with that instead of trying to force it to be something it doesn't want to be.
Naughty_Magician
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 5:03:01 PM

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Joined: 5/21/2011
Posts: 1,800
Location: Sublime Heights, Germany
I agree with what Morgan said about books not having an ending. I wasn't best pleased with the way Hunger Games ended, I signed up for a book, not the series! So end the first book and then let me decide if I want to read the second one, don't try to coerce me into buying the second one.

I haven't had this issue on Lush so it must be different for short stories.

Had a dream I was king, I woke up still king!!
CumGirl
Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 2:09:59 PM

Rank: Attention Whore

Joined: 7/23/2011
Posts: 2,240
Location: United Kingdom
DXM wrote:


CumGirl: The Bartelby point is an excellent one, and it's one that used to bug me a lot. I reread it last summer for the first time since high school, and it worked better for me this time round. The difference for for me was that before I thought of it as a story about Bartelby and his odd "I would prefer not to" quirk. Now when I read it I view it as a story about the actual narrator, whose fascination with Bartelby subtly paints a picture of a man on the verge of becoming aware of the pointlessness of his life's drudgery, but who tragically never quite gets there. I don't mean to suggest that this is what Melville had meant, but I found it worked as a more complete tale when I viewed it as such. And I loved that I had to take the time and bandwidth to puzzle out the right interpretation for me. For whatever that's worth.

bustyreadhead: I think a lot of writers do in fact start from the ending. But a lot of times on your path back to your original point, you find you've ended up somewhere entirely different.


What this is really about is the nature of writing. Certainly much, if not most, writing is plot based with characters and story lines that all need suitable resolution. However, lots of writing is thematic; it is about "something" larger than the individual characters or plot within which they are contained ... so, to stick with Melville, "Moby Dick" is less about hunting The Great White Whale and more about destructive obsession.

In such writing, a clear plot resolution is often counter to the nature of tale ... life, after all, does not come with nice "neat bows attached" endings.

So, bustyredhead, when I write I start with "what it is I wish to say" and a suitable story format to carry the themes ... the characters and the plot both form about that central crux ... and, as Sprite has noted, story creation is a very organic process and quite often you end up nowhere near where you thought you would be when you started.

Yes, you should have a hazard label on you, "warning CG will be your every fantasy"



MrLosAngeles
Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 1:49:25 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 2/11/2013
Posts: 484
Location: Marina del Rey, United States
I don't know that the story has to have a ending. But I do prefer reading stories where I feel "something has happened" - a change has occurred from the status at the beginning. I also like stories that leave me wanting more as opposed to "Whew, I'm glad that's over".
DLizze
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 3:22:49 PM

Rank: Story Verifier

Joined: 4/23/2011
Posts: 2,512
I believe that, in Bartleby, Melville is far ahead of his time; it is an existential story, and reminds one of the writings of Sartre, de Beauvoir, and others of that phlosophic bent.
But, because it is existential, I think it DOES have a ending. In the story, Melville establishes his premise that life is pointless. Bartleby's death confirms that premise.

"There's only three tempos: slow, medium and fast. When you get between in the cracks, ain't nuthin' happenin'." Ben Webster
Wandering2
Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013 11:22:44 PM

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Joined: 3/5/2013
Posts: 46
Location: United States
I appreciate the advice regarding making a point. "What am I trying to say? When the point has been proven the story is over." Seems simple. I have enjoyed this thread and besides the POINT, the other thing I take with me is that writing is organic. I'm hoping that my stories will naturally flow and evolve. That is the way the events happened in real life; naturally, flowing and very erotic.

A horny couple, a few spices, a LOT of FUN

Hope you will check out my first story - Kitty Kapers - A Well Seasoned Woman

http://www.lushstories.com/stories/oral-sex/kitty-kapers-a-well-seasoned-woman.aspx

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