Santa, the last of the wildmen

AW Amazon Store

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: dragging out the ending

  1. #1
    figuring it all out CEMartin2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    dragging out the ending

    So I'm a fan of surprise twists, particularly "no, the bad guy isn't dead yet" endings. Heck, I even like, "no, he still isn't dead yet" endings. But I wonder how much is too much...

    In all my Act3s, I follow classic structure. The hero(es) confront the villain for the grand finale. Everything falls apart/doesn't go according to plan, and there's that all-is-lost moment, then Huzzah! Good triumphs.

    For my latest WIP, I decided to extend that a bit...

    Act 1 has the problem presented to the heros. Then the reader follows the heros and villain, alternating perspective as they inevitably head for a showdown in

    Act 2, where the villain strikes viciously. But instead of facing off and being defeated, the heroes simply get there too late, and the villain escapes.

    There's more building-to-a-climax/preparation from both sides.

    Then in Act3, I squeeze it all together:

    Good guys confront bad guy. Plan fails.
    Good guys regroup and confront bad guy again.
    Plan fails again. All is lost moment comes along.
    Good guys finally win.

    I like the ending, but I wonder if that's too much for a reader, compressed into the finale. How many times can the heroes think they've won, find out they didn't, then think they've won again?

    Does this work? Or do I have to reduce my word count?

  2. #2
    Your Pixie Queen Kerosene's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Quote Originally Posted by CEMartin2 View Post
    Does this work? Or do I have to reduce my word count?
    Yeah... I'm not even going to start on before I hit on this.

    Your story ends when it ends. If you don't have enough content to hit your word count, then you should change your goal of a word count.

    Stretching the story can reflect badly. I've seen many stories that are 50K worth of content, pulled to 130K and they are not fun to read. Even if you're pulling along an extra 10K, the reader will notice.

    I would just end the story, where it wants to end. Guessing this is the first draft? If you really need to pull out more words, try to create scenes that give different angles, or give more off from the characters. First drafts either come up short, or come out long. And finish writing it. The story might come out better than you expected.

    As to your question: The only problem I see is that you built up all the emotion and stress to the climax, they characters clash, then it fails. The build up falls here. Then you have them clash two more times, which don't have any build up to them.

    I can see when a plan fails, the character reroute themselves and flank the enemy. But don't send the the protags after the antag time and time again.

    There's also problems with the antag, just letting the protags free and live.
    Don't Fear Failure.

    "Look at the sound of all these people on fire. I want to be on fire, do you want to be on fire?" -- Most Roads Lead to Home, Listener.

    "The heights of great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night" -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

  3. #3
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Dragging out...are the important words in your question.

    Would you want to read a story where the ending is 'dragged out'?
    Everything yields to treatment.

  4. #4
    figuring it all out CEMartin2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Sorry, I didn't mean I did it to prolong a word count. I prefer to write without worrying about word count- just fill in the blanks from my outline.

    I meant the reader might feel it was dragged out.

    When I ended my first draft, I did check the word count and was pleased to have hit as many as I did. But now I'm thinking a tighter ending might be better- but that means getting rid of words.

    I liken it to getting extra fries with your meal. Do you throw them out because you dont' really need them, or keep them and be glad they're there.

  5. #5
    living in the past ishtar'sgate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    There's no pat answer to this one I don't think. It depends on the writer and the story and how 'squeezed' together it is. It can make for a dramatic last few chapters or it can be a frustration, kind of like a speaker who looks like he's wrapping up only to drone on and on some more, looks like he's wrapping up again and then keeps talking and talking.

  6. #6
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    In the land of cheese and chocolate
    Quote Originally Posted by CEMartin2 View Post

    I meant the reader might feel it was dragged out.
    The reader will only feel that way if the climax is low tension or repetitive or stuffed with filler.

    As to how long it should be--

    The length of the climax should be proportionate to the length and complexity of the novel. The bigger the story, the bigger the climax.

  7. #7
    Writer Erin Kelly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by CEMartin2 View Post
    Do you throw them out because you dont' really need them, or keep them and be glad they're there.
    If you don't really need them, get rid of them.

    If you don't want to get rid of them, make them necessary.

    Every scene must serve a purpose.
    Erin Entrada Kelly
    P&W Directory Listing
    I Tweet, Therefore I Am: @erinkellytweets
    BLACKBIRD FLY (HarperCollins, March 2015)
    LAND OF FORGOTTEN GIRLS (HarperCollins, 2016)

  8. #8
    Scared and loving it... Cappy1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Don't follow formulas too rigidly, this isn't Hollywood.

    If you do, your stories will lack integrity. Twists should be earned. So many people put them in for the sake of putting them in when their story would be better without them.

  9. #9
    Not as trollish as you might think Torill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Oslo, Norway
    As long as I haven't read it, I can't say whether your ending is dragging or not. That's the boring old answer, isn't it: it all depends on the way you write it. But repetitions tend to be boring, so be careful.

    Speaking for no one but myself: the first time the villain came back from the dead I might go whoa! didn't see that one coming! The second time I might be less thrilled, and by the third I might put the book down, tired of that silly old gimmick....

    Writing will enrage you, but its supposed to. It's not an escape - it's turning up to face myself
    Jessie Burton

    And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? Theyve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.
    And I said, Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.
    Neil Gaiman

    Book One -
    Querying. Wish me luck!

    Book Two -
    Started. Process so far


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Custom Search