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Thread: What is the proper ending for Eldritch horror?

  1. #1
    Prophet of the Eldritch ones. Shadowmoo's Avatar
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    What is the proper ending for Eldritch horror?

    What kind of ending suits eldritch horror like Lovecraft and Laird Barron?

  2. #2
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    The MC is irrevocably changed and not for the better.


  3. #3
    Prophet of the Eldritch ones. Shadowmoo's Avatar
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    That was a very succinct way of looking at it. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Mostly harmless SuperModerator dpaterso's Avatar
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    Sacrifice. Something is lost that can never be regained. A human life. Sanity-saving ignorance. Naive innocence. The ability to ever sleep peacefully again.

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  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Yeah, I don't think the protagonist can ever really gain a win in these stories. The things he has found himself (or herself) up against are just too powerful and unknowable. More knowledge only leads to more madness.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW
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    The Old Ones win the day; a state of resigned despair reigns . . . and readers are tempted to sleep with the lights on . . . Pleasant dreams.

  7. #7
    Tentacles Fall, Everyone Dies.

    More seriously: something awful that can not be undone and will change everything FOREVER. Or, in a slight twist, some noble sacrifice on the MC's part that makes only them susceptible to the awful thing, but it destroys their ability to interact with other humans ever again. That's the most positive outcome, probably. Containing the evil For Now, but it will drain all the sanity and happiness out of whoever functions as that container.
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  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowmoo View Post
    What kind of ending suits eldritch horror like Lovecraft and Laird Barron?
    ha, since I am writing a book that is kinda influenced by LC, there is one of two ways the MC ends up.
    1) totally insane
    2) dead

    or
    3) unkown

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ironmikezero View Post
    The Old Ones win the day
    this is like every Golden Girls episode eva

    :P

  9. #9
    I'm writing one of these. Basically my MC's victory is pretty partial and even subjective. He's forever changed, paranoid, and has lost something he holds dear. He's also lost much of his humanity figuratively and literally.

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Breakdown of all the comfortable illusions that keep a normal human from waking up screaming every morning without hope to ever regain them.

  11. #11
    Human Person charliewwriter's Avatar
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    I have a sort of unpopular opinion on this. I agree that most eldritch horror should end with one of the following three: MC insane, dead, or ambiguous. This is when the idea of cosmic horror works best... But when you read an entire collection or anthology when this always happens, you get bored. The great cosmic mind-f**k doesn't mean as much when it happens all the time. Sometimes I think it's best when the human characters defeat the Lovecraftian monsters (temporarily) and are able to continue with some semblance of real life.
    When you start a story and you know the MC is screwed no matter what, it cheapens the actual horror, but if you're not sure if the MC will make it out or not, it's more horrifying when they don't.
    So I think it's best that occasionally MC doesn't go insane, die, or we're unsure exactly what happened but are pretty sure they're screwed.

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