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mark211Plotting for short stories - can anyone give me any advice?2014-04-27 06:45:51
mark211I have a continuing problem in that (rightly or wrongly of course), I feel I that I can come up with ideas for characters, for worlds and settings and even for dialogue (all this is in my own mind of course) but one thing I absolutely seem incapable of doing is finding an ending to any of the story-ideas I am able to come up with - I have a folder filled with almost a dozen unfinished short stories that some day I'd like to finish and put on QM but I can never work out how to resolve any of the situations I come up with - does anyone have any advice for plotting, especially with regard to coming up with satisfying conclusions? I'm increasingly finding it a major pain the a** not to be able to finish anything! Any help or advice coming this way will be highly appreciated.2014-04-27 06:50:11
tobiashHi Mark-- Ending a story is always a problem. Here's how I deal with it. I generally write with no real plot or ending in mind, just a situation. While describing the situation I develop whatever characters I need to make the situation interesting or humorous or frightening. When it comes time to end the narrative I stop and think of how the ending might make the situation I described funnier, scarier or unexpected. If I can't come up with a clever twist, I try and end the story on a wistful note like "and he fell asleep and dreamed of robotic sheep." Remember, we are story tellers and not every story has a socko ending. Make believe you are telling a story to a friend about an incident in your life. It's often the incident that is the story and after the description of the incident, the story just ends. Written stories can just end naturally too without a lot of fanfare. I hope this makes sense and, I hope it helps. 2014-04-29 07:10:05
mark211Heh, yes it does make sense - I really appreciate your comments and hope I can do something with it soon - thanks for responding.2014-04-29 13:44:26
AnonymousI like Tobiash's idea about ending the story as if you were telling a story to a friend about something in your life. That's all we are really, storytellers. We're all just sitting around the campfire saying, 'tell me a story'. 2014-05-01 12:11:32
mark211Yes, it is good advice - and actually on a not unrelated point I just found this TED talk called 'The Clues to a Great Story' by the guy who worked on Wall-E and other big hitting stories https://www.ted.com/playlists/62/how_to_tell_a_story?utm_content=awesm-publisher&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=on.ted.com-facebook-share&utm_campaign=&awesm=on.ted.com_j0D3w2014-05-05 01:25:40
Bronson CraneMark - Everyone has their likes and dislikes/fears and phobias. Being a big fan of Twilight Zone and Hitchcock, One Step Beyond, etc., I always try to come up with an ending the reader doesn't expect, but is still logical enough to be plausible. I usually have at least a rough idea of where I'm headed, although I usually wind up with an ending different from what I envisioned when I started. It sounds to me like you've talked yourself into believing that you can't finish your story, and as they say, "perception is reality." To help expel those demons, I suggest you DO finish one of those stories, even if -- to you -- it's the worst ending ever! Then take a look at what aspects of the ending make you think negatively about it. Think about stories you've read where you liked the ending, and try to incorporate the key ingredients into your ending. In other words, identify what makes a story GOOD for you when reading. Does the good guy win? Maybe sometimes he loses. Sometimes things are NOT as they appear. You know, that kind of stuff... 2014-06-01 05:28:01
mark211Thanks Bronson - sounds like very sound advice.2014-06-02 15:20:46
Pippin91Hi Mark: I really should check in on this forum more often - this is a good topic!! For me, the end is the beginning. That means when I write a story I try to start with the end. For example, my story The Betting Window began with the idea "the con man conning himself". and The Fine Print started with "the main character discovers that there are many aliens operating on earth" and so forth. Starting with the end makes it a lot more likely that you'll write a logically consistent, tight story. And it has the very desirable side effect of making it really easy to write the ending. I also like Bronson's idea - just write something. There have been a few stories where I didn't start with an ending, and like you I floundered. So I wrote several different endings, and so far have managed to come up with at least one OK ending.2014-08-04 18:37:34


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