FIXING Problem Endings - Chapter 1

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FIXING Problem Endings

by OokamiKasumi

Libraries: Writing Tutorials

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THE #1 Most Common Writing Problem: “The story is already halfway written and I have no idea where to go from there!"

FIXING Problem Endings
Fixing Problem Endings

"...Too many good books, book series, anime, etc. suffer from Bad Endings."
-- A Frustrated Reader

THE #1 Most Common Problem:
The story is already halfway written and I have no idea where to go from there!"

This most frequently happens when:
-- A) The author didn't know how they wanted to end the story before they started writing. They just wrote ... until they couldn't write any more. (AKA: Writing by the seat of their pants.)

-- B) They planned the end, but painted themselves into a corner by tossing in a major (head/heart/sex) problem they didn't know how to fix before they could get to the end. (AKA: Bit off more than they could swallow.)

Finding the End
Stories aren’t just about characters Doing stuff, it’s about character’s Dealing with stuff and Figuring out stuff about themselves. The really good stories, the ones that grab us and stay in our memories the longest, all illustrate normal people problems and issues, and the SOLUTIONS they come across.

No matter how fantastic the setting or characters are, stories are still about people being people dealing with people stuff. It isn’t What they do, it’s How they did it, and what they discovered about themselves on the way.

Go back to the beginning and figure out what your main character's Problem was Internally (emotionally) and Externally (plot/quest). If you haven't solved them yet, then that's all you need to do -- solve the quest & fix their emotional issue.

Note: Your main character is the Point of View character that most of the story is told from.

FIXING the Problem.
"HOW do I fix the problem I have right now?"
1) Written by the Seat of your Pants
-- When you've written something by the seat of your pants, the only way to fix it is by stopping cold and figuring out where you want it to end - then adjusting the whole story to suit your ending. This means extensive rewrites.

This also means making a decision.

What's more important to you as an author?
A) The hours you spent writing all those words that got you nowhere?
- OR -
B) Making a story your readers will swoon over?

2) Bit off more than you can Swallow
-- I've noticed that this shows up most frequently when you have an ANGST plot. Oddly, it also shows up when someone wants to write a smut scene, but never had sex before.

Fixing Smut
- This is actually really easy. READ smut stories. (Porn movies give you the visuals but not what it FEELS like.) Just, for God's sake, don't copy someone's smut scenes word for word - that's plagiarism. Paraphrase instead -- that's perfectly legal.

Het smut - I recommend reading books by author Angela Knight for excellent graphic detailing without making you wanna hurl.

Yaoi smut - go here: Minotaurs Sex Tips for Slash Writers - Read that.

Fixing Angst
- This one's tough. If you're trying to fix a serious problem like Grief over lost loved ones begin by Googling 'stages of grief', so you know what your character is supposed to be going through, and follow the advice given for getting over it. If you're trying to fix a heart-ache like a break-up between lovers, the stages of grief still works.

If you're trying to get them back together again, then you have a real problem.

-- Here in the West, getting back together rarely ever happens in real life because it's just easier to end the relationship completely and not deal with it anymore.

-- In the East, it's another story entirely. People do get back together because they are taught from childhood that Family and Personal Honor is far more important than one’s personal feelings.

• Enemies WILL put their personal vendetta on hold until a common enemy is vanquished.
• Wives WILL go back to their husbands for the sake of keeping the rest of the family safe from harm; giving those husbands a chance to make their wives fall in love with them again.

In Conclusion...
-- When you've come up with the most diabolical problem known to man (or beast) the only way to fix it is by finding out how REAL People fixed it and applying that to your characters. Ahem, RESEARCH. (Hint: is your friend.)

DISCLAIMER: As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.

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