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Old 11-23-2017, 05:32 PM   #16
crich70
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I think you have resolution of individual storylines confused with the idea of multiple endings. Multiple endings would be like in the CYOA books. In your example of LOTR we see:
1) the defeat of Sauron
2) the crowning of Aragorn
3) the fight back in the Shire
4) the gray havens where Elrond, Gandalf, Bilbo and Frodo depart middle earth leaving Samwise to complete the stories ending.
They aren't multiple endings. One ending flows into the next. If Sauron were not beaten then Aragon wouldn't have become king. And no one goes untouched by a war so the Shire had to be affected. And Elrond, Gandalf, Bilbo and Frodo were all affected in one way or another by the existence of the one ring. Two by having fought against Sauron to take the ring from him and two by having carried the ring. Once again we see the idea that no one is unaffected by a war. I believe Tolkien was making a point based on his own experiences in WWI when he wrote that part of LOTR. He had been in the trenches and seen friends die. How could anyone see that and not be affected? But the endings are not separate but all part of a whole. And an author should resolve everything of importance at the end of his/her book. Agatha Christie always let you know at the end who the murderer was. I don't know that we always found out what happened to them but we knew who they were, why they had done it, and how the crime was committed. I believe that a good many stories have such 'multiple endings' in them in that the author resolves things in an orderly manner.
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Old 11-24-2017, 03:11 AM   #17
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It's not that Tolkien's extended conclusion didn't fit together, it's that it didn't have to be that drawn out into such obviously distinct parts.

Much of what followed on after chapter 4 "The Field of Cormallen" could have been wrapped up very much faster. There's somewhere around 100 pages following that chapter - a novella in its own right. Viewed with a dispassionate eye: The crowning of the King didn't need to be told, we knew it was going to happen ("and they lived happily ever after" would have covered it). The entire scouring of the Shire could have been dropped and no one would have been any the wiser - it simply didn't need to be there. Only the Grey Havens chapter, it seems to me, is critical to the wrap up.

I wouldn't change a word of it, but we're not trying to publish something 60+ years ago, we're trying to publish something now. In today's market an editor (with a traditional publisher) wouldn't let you get away with such an extended ending. Final climax and then wrap up quickly, leave them wanting more, is the modern mantra, with some (but not quite that much) leeway given to more epic works.

As independent publishers we can, of course, choose for ourselves what is, and is not, acceptable. But we push against the trends at our own risk.
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Old 11-24-2017, 11:28 AM   #18
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It's not that Tolkien's extended conclusion didn't fit together, it's that it didn't have to be that drawn out into such obviously distinct parts.

Much of what followed on after chapter 4 "The Field of Cormallen" could have been wrapped up very much faster. There's somewhere around 100 pages following that chapter - a novella in its own right. Viewed with a dispassionate eye: The crowning of the King didn't need to be told, we knew it was going to happen ("and they lived happily ever after" would have covered it). The entire scouring of the Shire could have been dropped and no one would have been any the wiser - it simply didn't need to be there. Only the Grey Havens chapter, it seems to me, is critical to the wrap up.

I wouldn't change a word of it, but we're not trying to publish something 60+ years ago, we're trying to publish something now. In today's market an editor (with a traditional publisher) wouldn't let you get away with such an extended ending. Final climax and then wrap up quickly, leave them wanting more, is the modern mantra, with some (but not quite that much) leeway given to more epic works.

As independent publishers we can, of course, choose for ourselves what is, and is not, acceptable. But we push against the trends at our own risk.
I want to add to your last line.
I abhor when an independent says well $$$$ author does this so I can too.
Alas usually the independent has not actually read said $$$$ and is in a completely different genre.
Though I must say when I heard one author say he was copying another's style, I was able to temporarily get over my allergy to Wool.
Note: The two styles were not even close.
The independent that was attempting to copy styles had so many errors, the book was almost unreadable and then he not only didn't give any resolutions, he added a new twist at the end.
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Old 11-24-2017, 11:51 AM   #19
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And yet if you cut an ending too much you risk cutting your own financial throat as well. People want to know what happened to the characters that they've spent time and many pages learning about. I know if a book is too boiled down at its ending I may put it down with the thought to avoid that author's work in the future. There is telling and there is showing. Showing takes more words but it is far, far more satisfying to me as a reader.

Example:

John was angry. (Telling) We learn the character's name and that he's angry.

John stomped into the room slamming the door behind him. Grabbing up the whiskey decanter he splashed a generous amount into a tumbler not caring that more ended up on the table than in the glass. He tossed the liquor back and then threw the empty glass at the fireplace with an oath. "Damn her! Damn her to hell!" (Showing)

The 2nd version is longer but we get a better idea of how angry John is. Likewise at the end of a novel the author can show what happens to the characters or he/she can summarize what happens. If I want a summary of a book I'll look for the cliff notes edition of the story not the story itself.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
And yet if you cut an ending too much you risk cutting your own financial throat as well. People want to know what happened to the characters that they've spent time and many pages learning about. I know if a book is too boiled down at its ending I may put it down with the thought to avoid that author's work in the future. There is telling and there is showing. Showing takes more words but it is far, far more satisfying to me as a reader.

Example:

John was angry. (Telling) We learn the character's name and that he's angry.

John stomped into the room slamming the door behind him. Grabbing up the whiskey decanter he splashed a generous amount into a tumbler not caring that more ended up on the table than in the glass. He tossed the liquor back and then threw the empty glass at the fireplace with an oath. "Damn her! Damn her to hell!" (Showing)

The 2nd version is longer but we get a better idea of how angry John is. Likewise at the end of a novel the author can show what happens to the characters or he/she can summarize what happens. If I want a summary of a book I'll look for the cliff notes edition of the story not the story itself.
Well, lol...if I pick up a book (nowadays, look at the LITB [Look Inside the Book]) and I see telling, I'm outta there. I mean, people can rave about the freedom of self-pubbing, and all that, but one good result of the old system was, I never had to fear that I'd actually end up with a book that was TELLING. That's simply unacceptable. I mean, Christ, it's Cardinal Rule of Writing 101, isn't it?

I, too, have seen an unfortunate number of books that do just that, since the advent of large-scale self-pubbing. I've also seen Info Dumps, aka, Exposition. And, bizarrely, a CRAPLOAD of books that start with info dumps--not with dialogue, or action, or ANYTHING that might entice you into reading.

I'm old school, having cut my teeth on the classics and all that, and I'm not allergic to longer, slow openings, but by god, it takes a decent writer to do that and still get me to read it. Most are simply horrid examples of "why the gatekeepers still matter."

My $.02, FWIW.

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Old 11-24-2017, 12:16 PM   #21
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Well, lol...if I pick up a book (nowadays, look at the LITB [Look Inside the Book]) and I see telling, I'm outta there. I mean, people can rave about the freedom of self-pubbing, and all that, but one good result of the old system was, I never had to fear that I'd actually end up with a book that was TELLING. That's simply unacceptable. I mean, Christ, it's Cardinal Rule of Writing 101, isn't it?

I, too, have seen an unfortunate number of books that do just that, since the advent of large-scale self-pubbing. I've also seen Info Dumps, aka, Exposition. And, bizarrely, a CRAPLOAD of books that start with info dumps--not with dialogue, or action, or ANYTHING that might entice you into reading.

I'm old school, having cut my teeth on the classics and all that, and I'm not allergic to longer, slow openings, but by god, it takes a decent writer to do that and still get me to read it. Most are simply horrid examples of "why the gatekeepers still matter."

My $.02, FWIW.

Hitch
Oh yes. I call those will you shut up already and get on with the story. 99% of the time I figure the person will babble the entire book so I move on to the something else.
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:19 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
And yet if you cut an ending too much you risk cutting your own financial throat as well. People want to know what happened to the characters that they've spent time and many pages learning about. I know if a book is too boiled down at its ending I may put it down with the thought to avoid that author's work in the future. There is telling and there is showing. Showing takes more words but it is far, far more satisfying to me as a reader.

Example:

John was angry. (Telling) We learn the character's name and that he's angry.

John stomped into the room slamming the door behind him. Grabbing up the whiskey decanter he splashed a generous amount into a tumbler not caring that more ended up on the table than in the glass. He tossed the liquor back and then threw the empty glass at the fireplace with an oath. "Damn her! Damn her to hell!" (Showing)

The 2nd version is longer but we get a better idea of how angry John is. Likewise at the end of a novel the author can show what happens to the characters or he/she can summarize what happens. If I want a summary of a book I'll look for the cliff notes edition of the story not the story itself.
Yes and no. There should be a balance between showing and telling. Sometimes an author has so clearly been advised to "show not tell" that he or she overdoes it. Sometimes it's fine to say, "John was angry"--maybe what's important is why he was angry, and not how angry he was. Maybe there've been too many scenes of smashed glasses and cursing already. Maybe the character is hiding his anger behind a facade of amiability. Maybe he's only a little bit angry. I think it can be just as annoying to read endless overwrought scenes of "showing" as it is to read sentence after sentence of tedious telling.
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
Yes and no. There should be a balance between showing and telling. Sometimes an author has so clearly been advised to "show not tell" that he or she overdoes it. Sometimes it's fine to say, "John was angry"--maybe what's important is why he was angry, and not how angry he was. Maybe there've been too many scenes of smashed glasses and cursing already. Maybe the character is hiding his anger behind a facade of amiability. Maybe he's only a little bit angry. I think it can be just as annoying to read endless overwrought scenes of "showing" as it is to read sentence after sentence of tedious telling.
I don't think anyone was suggesting a potboiler. Just...some evidence of writing craft.

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Old 11-24-2017, 06:56 PM   #24
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I agree show is (usually) better than tell. I don't agree show is necessarily much longer.

In crich70's examples the show version is much longer but it's also got a lot more info in it. You could equally write a tell version with all that detail and it would also be long.

The real question is how much of that information is needed at that point. There's a lot in that show passage that tells us what kind of man John is - he drinks whiskey not beer, he pours from a decanter, the swear words he chooses and so on. Near the beginning of the book, or after John has just been introduced this is useful info. As part of an ending it's superfluous. We should already know John by that stage.

Now maybe that's just because crich70 was thinking more of show v tell than endings when constructing his example, nevertheless my point is that the "information" in the ending should be that which is needed to satisfyingly wrap up the story and no more.
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Old 11-24-2017, 10:07 PM   #25
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Hi there everyone. Sorry I posted and then dropped out on you. Work kinda got the better of me last week. Anyhow, here's a couple answers to clear things up. I hope anyways. haha.
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Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post
I just want to add I don't want to have to buy the sequel to get an ending.
To me: that seems like nothing more than a money hungry author.
Which is kind of ironic given that I don't charge for my books. I give them all away for free as I do this as a stress relieving hobby now. And no, I have no intention of dragging out the ending into a sequel. I want the first one closed out nicely, with everything sorted out and everything nice and tidy, but at the same time with everything setup character wise so that, if they should go on to the next book, I don't have a big mess to contend with at the start. They just roll into it nice and cleanly, and off we go. And if not, then what they get at the end will not leave them feeling shorted in any way. Take the marriage of two of the main characters for instance. They've been talking about that the whole series and at the end it finally gets resolved. That also puts in place an important plot element for the next series that needs to be there and in effect at the very beginning of the next series as it plays a key roll in the opening chapters. See my point?
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My first reaction - to the title - was the same as Cinisajoy's: No. But then I read your description and see you mean an extended conclusion/wrap-up.

I'd have to say that the answer is still: generally no. But for epic works and series, especially fantasy, then: Yes, within reason, these can be a good thing; something that has enveloped the reader for this long sometimes needs a longer wrap-up to let the reader down more gently, to avoid feeling as if they've just been dropped out of the world.
That's more or less what I'm after, trying to finish out and wrap up some things that happened earlier in the series that don't/can't get resolved until the very end. At least not the right way.

[/quote]Remember that it is common these days for books to include some teaser chapters for a new book at the back of a book. So you may be able to have your cake and eat it too. That is to say, close off your first series neatly and cleanly (no next series set up; give a real, satisfying conclusion) but still give the reader the chance to be enticed into the next series (if that is what they want). Properly presented (as teaser chapters for a new book) lets the reader decide if/when to read them, and sets up entirely different expectations.[/QUOTE]
Well, the idea here is to finalize several plotlines in order to lay the groundwork needed for the next series. The first one will be completely closed out as, once they leave the world they're on, the story is over, save only for tying up lose ends and bringing back some of the team members into one place for a wedding that they can't have until they get back to Earth, and which plays an important part in the second series. The rest is sorta how the whole experience on the other planet changes the lives of the main cast when they get back to Earth. It may only take me a chapter to tidy all of that up, or it could take upwards of 3-4, but on the off chance it's the latter, I'm preparing accordingly. I'm also planning on merging all the individual team member storylines at the end into one final storyline, leaving the only "teaser" that there's more coming is the reappearance of one of the main supporting characters who basically watches the wedding unfold and is like, "We ain't done yet." That'll be about the grand total of spoiler they will get. The rest is just cleanup. However, I envisioned it in my mind as being several distinct endings, but it may not turn out that way. It'd just be separate plotlines which all eventually merge into one.
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Old 11-24-2017, 11:30 PM   #26
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Hey Steven,
Your books look vaguely familiar. I think we have talked before.

Oh and gorgeous covers.
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Old 11-24-2017, 11:43 PM   #27
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Yep, we've talked about them before. If I wasn't always so stinking busy I'd probably talk about them more, but this time of year work has me slammed, so I use what little free time I have at this time to unwind from work and do some writing in an effort to relax. I only finally remembered to pop in here after spending a large portion of the day just sleeping in order to reboot myself. lol. Sheesh, what people do for money. :P
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Old 11-25-2017, 12:04 AM   #28
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Yep, we've talked about them before. If I wasn't always so stinking busy I'd probably talk about them more, but this time of year work has me slammed, so I use what little free time I have at this time to unwind from work and do some writing in an effort to relax. I only finally remembered to pop in here after spending a large portion of the day just sleeping in order to reboot myself. lol. Sheesh, what people do for money. :P
Reboot. Tis the season to be busy.
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Old 11-25-2017, 01:44 AM   #29
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I agree show is (usually) better than tell. I don't agree show is necessarily much longer.

In crich70's examples the show version is much longer but it's also got a lot more info in it. You could equally write a tell version with all that detail and it would also be long.

The real question is how much of that information is needed at that point. There's a lot in that show passage that tells us what kind of man John is - he drinks whiskey not beer, he pours from a decanter, the swear words he chooses and so on. Near the beginning of the book, or after John has just been introduced this is useful info. As part of an ending it's superfluous. We should already know John by that stage.

Now maybe that's just because crich70 was thinking more of show v tell than endings when constructing his example, nevertheless my point is that the "information" in the ending should be that which is needed to satisfyingly wrap up the story and no more.
I do agree that it can depend on many things as to how much detail is needed. I mean if John is shown to be angry and next thing you know the police come calling because 'she' has been found dead then it would be important. In truth I just used that example to point out that cutting things to bare details can lose a lot of information. I think it can also jar the reader out of the story prematurely (even if near the end). I also think that it is possible to cut a story down to bare facts so much that it is almost unreadable. Traditionally that meant it would most likely be rejected by a publishing house but now with Amazon and Smashwords (to name just two places) anyone can publish anything without stopping to have someone look it over to see if the tale is at its best. Some people over do showing granted, but some also overdo just telling, and as has been noted here in this thread there needs to be a balance. In some stories that may mean a longer ending than in another story. I don't know about others here at MR but when I pick up a fiction book I do so to be entertained and having too rapid fire a closing can feel like I'm a guest at the author's dinner table and am being quickly rushed out the door for some reason after the meal.
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Old 11-25-2017, 05:17 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
And yet if you cut an ending too much you risk cutting your own financial throat as well. People want to know what happened to the characters that they've spent time and many pages learning about. I know if a book is too boiled down at its ending I may put it down with the thought to avoid that author's work in the future. There is telling and there is showing. Showing takes more words but it is far, far more satisfying to me as a reader. [...]
I am not sure how you got from cutting down an ending to telling rather than showing - one does not have to lead to the other.

One excellent example of filling in the readers about the future of the characters is the epilogue to the Harry Potter series. Here we have one brief scene, 19 years later, that fills you in on so many details - but it's a scene, a showing, not an info-dump. ... Well, perhaps a bit of an info-dump, but not obviously so. I could quite happily have read another novel of Rowling's writing, filling me on every details of her vast array of wonderful characters, but she left me wanting more - and this is a good thing.

Endings are different beasts to beginnings, you're looking for satisfaction rather than intrigue. But, like beginnings, they are critically important: the ending is what the reader takes away with them. You want to end on a high, or otherwise emotionally strong note, not on a lengthy dissertation of mundane happenings. Leave the reader with a buzz, not boredom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Lake View Post
[...snipped for brevity...] However, I envisioned it in my mind as being several distinct endings, but it may not turn out that way. It'd just be separate plotlines which all eventually merge into one.
The advice/suggestion is necessarily generic when not privy to the detail. Only you can know what is critical to have in your wrap up, but my last paragraph above above, in response to crich, still stands as - I think - good advice; something to aim for. Your priority must be the conclusion of the series, any set up for a new series must either fit in well, or be left as a problem for the new series.
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