Well. This is a question that comes from my recent completion of a short story and I am dissatisfied with the ending. This hasn't happened to me before, to be honest. I've always found endings naturally that I feel fit the story. Usually, I leave my short stories a bit open ended. I like them to be slightly ominous as well. So writing a happy ending leaves me empty. Like the story is for children.
The question: Is this a me problem or a real problem?
Should I try to find an ending that's more me or leave it?
I don't think short stories have much time to build proper suspense and so a happy ending isn't as satisfying as with a novel or series. The bad thing happens and the antagonist is defeated in such quick succession. Is there a way to solve this? I'm thinking I need to go back to the drawing board with this particular story and find the right angle.
So, are happy endings okay or are they childish? What kind of endings do you prefer for short stories? How do you build proper suspense for a horror/paranormal story without bloating the word count or dragging things too long?
Seriously...this is a new issue for me and I am not a fan.
Alatariel, HEA’s are fine, and not childish. If you write them all the time and then have one that isn't, you've left your comfort zone, that's all. According to the SFWA a short story can be up to 7,500 words. It's your story, have the ending you want.
In the movies Alien and The Blob, you had tension build-up. Nobody saw the monster until halfway through. Maybe slow your story down.
It's a problem we all have. We know our story and write to that. I know, this is something I do repeatedly. Did you post it here so others can take a look?
Last Edit: Jul 11, 2021 7:15:08 GMT -6 by pelwrath
I guess that's kind of the problem, I don't know what story I want to write. I mean, I do but I don't if that makes sense. Do I want it to be horror? Or magical realism? Or paranormal fiction? I went in with a specific plan and it happened just as I envisioned. But I'm left unsatisfied. I don't know if the ending I wrote just feels weird because it's not the type of ending I usually write or if something is actually missing from the story. I'm gonna think on it because that usually works. I haven't posted it because I don't know if I like it enough to be critiqued yet. Like, I don't want to waste anyone time reading something I might choose to dismantle anyways.
Last Edit: Jul 11, 2021 0:34:24 GMT -6 by Alatariel
I think it is a real problem as well as a me problem. A real problem because many writers also write a happy endings that leaves you with a feeling that you had just lost time that you will never get back. A me problem because you are just not satisfied with your own work. In that case you can always rework your story till it reached the intensity that you like.
Are happy endings okay? Of course they are but the real question is are they satisfying? For my preference of endings for short stories I like a story that can go full circle. I'm not exactly proficient in horror but typically you would want the reader to do most of the heavy lifting. Present a situation that slowly gets worse and there is nothing the character could do about it. The feeling of helplessness is most important. Like creepypasta.
Ala, it’s never a waste of my or anyone’s time here to help a friend, especially to help their story. Leave it to sit for a while. It seems that you want a different ending, it will come. No need to rush. You are one hell of a writer.
Post by HDSimplicityy on Jul 23, 2021 17:34:08 GMT -6
Endings are hard. Nuff said. Make the ending occur soon after the good character overcomes their obstacle/antagonist/goal. No extra epilogue paragraph, no anything extra. See what three endings in three genres does. Maybe the special element that makes each one what it is finds a connection with what you have. Maybe that is too much.
Another idea: pick it apart entirely find see what is bugging you.
Or to make it simple, write two endings, choosing one.
During the years I was writing my Tomb Raider fanfiction and conceptualizing my novel, I wanted to write a gargantuan battle sequence. Just like we see in Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, now in The Avengers, as well as referencing specific verses in the Bible. Long story short, knowing what both those could come to had me thinking way early on, "This is the ending I want." But I did not know it would be a book ending until later. Then again... the actual end chapter I have a small rough draft of that will be expanded on.
Its great to have an ending to write toward. Tweak it if you need, change it, whatever. For a short story, its like what point is the character achieved her or his goal? It could be a reflective line to put a period down on, a walking away, a going up to someone or something that has symmetry with a part of the story.
I hope this helps... I am starting to ramble once again. If it doesn't, just say it.
How true, my space opera draft is a tad over 65k, There’s a little I could add in or head to another story/character thread for that. As a note at 65k this is my longest story so far, my vampire book was a tad over 48k.
Post by HDSimplicityy on Aug 8, 2021 18:41:32 GMT -6
pelwrath, one option is in a slow scene. Dialogue, a facial expression to leave as a cliffhanger, a meeting to plan or rest (The Empire Strikes Back's ending is one example). This way the drama does not stifle out; the story keeps going!
The simplest answer I can think of right now is just when the story has everything tied up in your head.
Alatariel: Pelwrath, is the remodel a surprise?
Oct 24, 2021 18:03:58 GMT -6
FoxxGlove: Looks like these Halloween entries are going to be sooooooo close.
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HDSimplicityy: Tonight I learned that critiquing other peoples' critiques is not a custom in some groups. Is that even true? I did it in school and I think we do that here.
Oct 25, 2021 20:02:22 GMT -6
HDSimplicityy: Im not sure they will enjoy reading chapters of my novel every several weeks with the content.
Oct 25, 2021 20:05:42 GMT -6
Alatariel: I don't think I've ever critiqued someone else's crit
Oct 25, 2021 21:08:46 GMT -6
HDSimplicityy: I mean clarifying your writing
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pelwrath: Day 3 of remodeling, kind of a surprise. She know that not what. Get new electrical covers, put molding back, closet shelves, and start assembling new furniture. Wife is refinishing desk.
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pelwrath: I hope to be less tired and return to scoring tonight.
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