Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday - On Plot - Endings

Have you reached the end of your current work in progress. Last week we talked about the different kind of endings. Time to become specific.

Circular endings - The end of a story is rather like the beginning. While the beginning sets the problem the ending brings it to a satisfactory conclusion. In the circular ending the final scene mirrors the beginning but with some differenes. The story is wrapped up. The setting may be the same. Even some the dialogue can be the same. The characters in the story end up in the same place as they did when they began the journey. They re-connect with the start but they have changed and the problem is solved. The characters have grown and changed and they return bringing these changes with them. This is often the way of a quest story.

The contrast with the beginning is the key to a circular ending. No slam-bang action ends the story though it may occur right before the ending. The ending has a calm center. If there is no strong tie between the beginning and the end, the circular story will fall flat.

Circular endings can go wrong. One way is being lost in exposition. The writer continues to explain and explain making the reader impatient to see the words The End. The circular ending should show the homecoming, show the new direction for the characters, show how the crisis has changed the characters and bring the characters home.

A second problem is the absence of a real homecoming. The writer stops the story before the final confrontation and leaves the character in a sort of limbo.

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