PDA

View Full Version : The way SF works end,



JustSarah
09-10-2014, 08:26 PM
Is this sort of thing suppose to evolve over time?

I might be growing bored with the traditional approach. Having them completely crushed in mind and spirit. Instead it's more like a slow trickle; if they were once a fairy princess in a kingdom far away, than in a few months they are completely deposed and returned to the human world. Where they gradually forget the fairy kingdom. It's not really this -- woosh, and everyone died type of ending.

I'm not really sure what caused the change, other than possibly reading different stuff.

I just mean Sf and F in general. Not strictly SF.:P

Roxxsmom
09-10-2014, 10:50 PM
Isn't the traditional approach to storytelling to beat a protagonist down and have them hit rock bottom at some point in the story (the things get worse place), then have them pull themselves out of the morass to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? I can't think of many SF novels where the protagonist ceased to exist in every sense of the word.

Or maybe I don't get what you mean? Intriguing characters are troubled souls, for the most part, and they have to overcome obstacles, both external and internal en route to their goal. The character generally undergoes a major change and makes some important sacrifices along the way.

RikWriter
09-10-2014, 11:33 PM
I sure as hell wouldn't read SF that ended that way. YMMV.

JustSarah
09-10-2014, 11:36 PM
Oh my Sf and Fantasy are totally different animals.:P (I wouldn't call Victoria The Sleeper Sf, though I'm not really sure I'd call it fantasy either.)

benbenberi
09-11-2014, 02:24 AM
It used to be I completely crushed a protagonist, now it's less utter physical defeat and more like they still exist in person, yet have been completely mentally crushed. And these days that's not even really completely definite either.

I might be growing bored with the traditional approach. Having them completely crushed in mind and spirit.

I've been reading SFF for 40+ years and I've never read one that ends like that. Whatever you're describing, it's not the mainline genre "tradition." (Which tends to be more the opposite of nihilistic and hopeless.)

Buffysquirrel
09-11-2014, 04:28 AM
The downbeat ending is rare in Science Fiction, for sure. But PKD is known for them.

zanzjan
09-11-2014, 04:46 AM
Is this sort of thing suppose to evolve over time?

You mean SF in general, or *your* SF?

If the first: the majority of SF doesn't end like that. Some does. Whatever the tone of the ending, it's usually crafted to wrap up the tonal arc of the story and leave the reader with a particular emotion and sense of the overall whole. Good writers will not re-use the same exact arc over again in multiple stories.

If the second: I'd sure hope so. See last sentence of above.

JustSarah
09-11-2014, 05:30 AM
Yea, like is a persons (general) ending suppose to evolve over time.

That wasn't clunky wording on my end.:/

zanzjan
09-11-2014, 05:46 AM
Still not entirely sure what you're asking, but your MC should have a character arc, yes. Doesn't mean it has to end in sparkly-hollywood-flowers-and-rainbows -- it can end very, very grim indeed -- but for a story to really grab a reader, the emotional tone can't be flat.

You can have an arc that goes:
grim grim grim spark-of-hope valiant-effort! heroically-defeated new-grim the-end

but an arc that goes:
grim grim grim grim grim grim the-end
(or:
happy happy happy happy happy happy the-end)
..doesn't give the reader anything to invest in.

JustSarah
09-11-2014, 06:18 AM
Ah I see what you mean. I'll do redo the plot to fit accordingly.

Tried my hand at discovery writing, I noticed the styles are drastically different if I plotted than if I were to discovery write. When I discovery write, I'm more apt to rely on the immediate things I'm familiar with. Life experiences. I'm not sure if I like that aspect or not, after reading over say ... Victoria The Sleeper for example.

zanzjan
09-11-2014, 07:34 AM
I haven't read that story.

I should have added a caveat that, if you're writing a story because it's something you're driven to express for yourself -- fiction writing can be one of the ways we constructively process the real challenges in our lives -- the concerns about what makes a good story for other people may not be relevant to the work. Depends on what you want from it, and how you envision its audience, if any.

JustSarah
09-11-2014, 08:01 AM
I really want there to be a book like my last true novella, I'm not having imagery that's as concrete as it was when I started that one. Like I tend to start with a time or place rather than a character, and capture that feeling. Sort of like how one might capture a lake or meadow.

Which of course made transitioning to prose, ... weird.

I'll see how combining these two poems I have in my hand goes.

Maxx
09-11-2014, 05:47 PM
Is this sort of thing suppose to evolve over time?

It used to be I completely crushed a protagonist, now it's less utter physical defeat and more like they still exist in person, yet have been completely mentally crushed. And these days that's not even really completely definite either.

I might be growing bored with the traditional approach. Having them completely crushed in mind and spirit.

I think the utterly crushed protangonist is an interesting possibility in SF and F. I tried a complete arc: crushing to nothing and a return of sorts -- it takes too long!
These days I prefer to start at as close to nothing as possible. This offers many advantages -- for example figuring out how they hit rockbottom and how they can get back to some other level. And it cuts out half the arc in terms of strict narrative time and space (pages).
The disadvantages are pretty numerous too -- eg how do you narrate from the POV of a completely destroyed being?

Albedo
09-11-2014, 05:52 PM
If my SF protagonists end up utterly crushed, it's because they fell into a black hole.

JustSarah
09-11-2014, 09:36 PM
Well I ended up finishing my chapter book. It's turning out more on the fantasy end rather than the SF end.

BardofArcadia
12-23-2014, 05:49 AM
My concern with this approach is that if you start the story off grim, it is what the reader expects and comes to wants. A story that ends happily should, in my humble opinion, have a little bit of hope early on. Some readers like tragic fiction, and that belongs in its own category.

Filigree
12-23-2014, 05:58 AM
This, +10. Warn your readers ahead of time. I can write light airy fantasy, but my heart is in stories with bittersweet transcendent endings. But when I indulge that part of my brain by writing fan-fiction, I warn my readers. When I do it in commercial fiction, I temper the angst with a bit more joy. I'm always trying to aim for a 'smile-through-your-tears' conclusion, if I can.

Terry Pratchett and Tanith Lee can *still* reduce me to a grinning, bawling mess, even after all these years. I'm still nowhere in their league.

I know PKD and others liked unremittingly grimdark endings, but I just can't.