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Being Unsure of the Ending

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Feb. 5, 2022

Unless you're winging it 100%, chances are that you have an ending in mind for your story. Perhaps you even have the entire ending scene plotted out in your mind, the layouts ready, even some of the lines or expressions your characters will say and have.

You might have that in mind as early as thumbnailing page 1. But if you are in for the long haul, creating a webcomic that takes several years to make, you might find that your views shift, your characters develop, and different outcomes and possibilities arise.

What do you do then?

We are not the people we were ten years ago- or even one year ago. Experiences, insights, realizations, and new ideas and stimuli forge us into an evolved version of who we are. With that comes a shift in opinions or even interests- what we want to explore in our own story.

That might lead down a path where you find yourself with more than one perfectly possible, viable endings that serve the story (i.e. they aren't structurally unsound or create plot holes). Your initial ending, the one you planned out so thoroughly, may not feel as fulfilling anymore. And I'm using that word because in this situation, the ending originally planned isn't narratively bad. It's just not what feels right anymore. Or at least not completely right.

On the other hand, the alternate endings you may have may be arbitrary for various reasons: the audience may not like it or is rooting for a specific ending; the alternate ending doesn't feel fulfilling either; you may not feel like you're able to carry it through well enough.

How, then, do you solve the conundrum?

I'm sure that there are several ways to do it (again, it depends on your approach), but what I found works for me is to ask the characters themselves. And that is done simply by letting the characters organically act and react as they would within the framework of their personality/ various parameters/ hero's journey/ etc. Whatever outcome they lead to, is going to be the right one, even if I don't feel fully satisfied with it.

After all, not everything can be wrapped up in a pretty bow- but it has to be wrapped up as faithfully to the story and the theme as possible. And who better to be faithful to a story (and world) than those who live in it?

Have you had dilemmas such as these, and if yes how did you go about making a choice?

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bravo1102 at 4:45AM, Feb. 6, 2022

There's always the sequel. A story line may end but the life goes on and there are always other stories.

usedbooks at 5:42AM, Feb. 5, 2022

I'm currently in the "moving everything toward the ending" phase, so I've had to solidify an ending in mind. There were several points along the way that I considered an earlier (much different) ending. I finally figured out who the main antagonists for the climax are (characters that didn't even exist at prior points when I planned an ending). One isn't actually enough of a significant character yet, so I'm focusing on building significance. I haven't fully scripted the ending. I partially scripted it, but it doesn't feel right, so it might change a bit.

KAM at 4:23AM, Feb. 5, 2022

I've had to change, at least, two endings from what I had planned. One got derailed because of some crossovers I had to do and going with my original ending would have dragged the story out longer and I wanted to wrap it up quickly. The other one I realized the ending would not be well-received and I had to come up with a completely different ending while I was in the middle of posting pages. Surprisingly the new ending worked & I don't think anyone noticed.

hushicho at 12:34AM, Feb. 5, 2022

I used to plan out endings before even starting a story, but I quickly learned that it's not a good strategy. The most common pitfall I feel people get into is that there must be an ending, and it has to tie up every loose plot thread neatly. This is completely false. In the last few years especially, I've been much more interested in stories that don't have an ending, because most stories end poorly and ineptly. I think it's more fun to make up one's own continued story or resolution, because I've found it's invariably better than any you'd get from the writer.

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