A Place of Safety
I expect simple behaviours here. Friendship, and love.
Any advice should be from the perspective of the person asking, not the person giving!
We have had to make new membership moderated to combat the huge number of spammers who register
















You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > Literary Merit > Which is harder to end?
Which is harder to end?  [message #71459] Sun, 01 May 2016 23:22 Go to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13454



As an author, which is more difficult to bring to a suitable close, a serial or a short story? How do you know when it is finished?

As a reader, do you find the authors know when to stop? And how to stop?



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Which is harder to end?  [message #71461 is a reply to message #71459] Mon, 02 May 2016 02:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Geron Kees is currently offline  Geron Kees   

Toe is in the water
Location: USA
Registered: February 2016
Messages: 81



In my opinion, they are both about the same. The only difference is the length of the story. Knowing when you are done is just feeling you have said what you wanted to say. Saying it exactly right at the end can be harder to do- how a story finishes is as important as how it starts.

But as a rule, I find it no harder to end a short story than I do a chapterplay.
As a reader  [message #71465 is a reply to message #71459] Mon, 02 May 2016 10:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13454



I am not often disappointed with the ending of a tale, multi-chapter or individual story.

I do get disappointed by two things, both epitomised by J  Rowling:
  • Story Bloat
  • Improbability


Bloat

I like detail in a story. Some detail that seems irrelevant, like what we had for a meal, can add to the plot. The intimate details of the preparation of a Tira Misu, though, can be too much. Harry Potter and the "What on earth can I do now there is no school ah yes, I'll send him on a camping trip" is a prime example of story bloat.

If it adds value to characterisation or to plot, add it. No value? Strip it out.

Improbability

"With one bound Harry was free!" says to me that the writer simply ran out of steam, wrote themselves into a corner, and had no idea how to solve their self inflicted problem. The solution is to go back and discard the writing that got them stuck, and change direction towards probability

Endings

Ah, see, part three of a two part answer! That tells you already what the problem is. Real life, unless they all die suddenly, has no endings of completed tales. When the writer finds 'and another thing, and another thing..." and insists on telling us about it we tend to know that the well has run dry. I need a good ending. It must be satisfactory without tying every last loose end up. It can leave everything hanging and still be a good ending.

Not knowing when it is finished

As a webmaster I have stats that tell me when a tale is finished. It's very rare that I see the "You finished ten chapters ago"  evidence, but I do see it. I stop reading the tale that has finished when I notice that the author has lost interest in it, however well it started. So does everyone else.




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
As a writer  [message #71466 is a reply to message #71459] Mon, 02 May 2016 10:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13454



For me I have found it hard to say all I want to say. Chris and Nigel is an example, where my words ran out before, in my view, the story was finished.

I've also found I want to finish a tale, sometimes, before the end.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Which is harder to end?  [message #71474 is a reply to message #71461] Tue, 03 May 2016 00:42 Go to previous message
Mark   United States

Likes it here
Location: Earth
Registered: April 2013
Messages: 230



I have to agree with Geron.  I didn't really have any real trouble ending either "The Immortal" or "An Apprentice's Adventures."  I think to a certain extent it was because when I actually wrote them, I'd already had a general idea of the overall story, and it was simply a matter of sitting down and writing them out and simply filling in the specifics.  The fact that one's a short story and the other's a multi-chapter serial was irrelevant.  When it was time to end each respective story, I pretty much ended it without too much thought (aside from a bit of sorrow that the story was ending; I'd grown quite attached to the characters in them, and was, in a way, sad to see their stories come to an end).

My problem is getting going on a story.  I have a several ideas for individual scenes or a bit of a general idea that I feel are supposed to be part of a larger story than just that individual scene or idea, but can't figure out how to expand them into stories I'd submit to a place like Nifty, much less something that I'd feel comfortable submitting to Timmy for consideration for this site.
Previous Topic: The Gulf Between Us
Next Topic: You Missed a Bit
Goto Forum: