Wednesday, 12 January 2011

endings are my weakness

Often, I have real trouble with ending my short stories in a way I'm happy with.

I want my endings to be ending-y enough, but not too THE END-y.

Do you know what I mean?

With the story I'm working on at the moment it comes down to pace. When I started editing it last week I noticed it suddenly speeds up about 3 quarters of the way through, smacking of 'desperately trying to end this now!'.

I think pace is hard to notice when you're up close to a story. I keep making edges of progress with this one and then leaving it for a few days for a bit of clarity. This is proving useful, and the end is forming a bit more naturally with each session.

It will be trying its luck in the Mslexia Women's Short Story Competition which closes on the 24th Jan.


Alex said...

Good luck. I seam to have the opposite problem, I know how a story starts and how it is going to end (mostly) but the bit in the middle is always blurry and subject to change.

I know what you mean, you want the reader to feel like it is the end of the story without having to kill all the characters and blow up the town. Right?

essygie said...

my problem is I'm knee deep in my novel right now, so I can't get the pace of the short stories right, they end up too leisurely. Think I might lay off writing any new ones, and just edit the unfinished ones I currently have, until the novel's finally done!

And Teresa, thank you for your kind words on my blog today, they made me feel a little better, especially as I know you know only too well how I'm feeling right now :-)

Teresa Stenson said...

Alex - yes, exactly, I want a natural end, without any explosions. Just subtle ones. That only become apparent later. And are therefore, oh - so - more- powerful. Or something.

Essy - yes, it must be hard to adapt to the change of pace. Perhaps a good idea to stay in 'novel zone' if that's where you are. No problem, of course, about my comments on your blog. I genuinely thought it was a beautiful poem. Hope you're feeling ok.

Miles said...

I know what you mean, Tureezer.

I never want to end something with the message that 'everything will be fine' or 'everything is shite' but I suppose somewhere in between. You know, like 'LIFE'.

I have another quote, of course, for this situation (only because other people are more eloquent than me) and it's from Terry Gilliam, slagging off Steven Spielberg. And why not.

'Spielberg and the success of most films in Hollywood, I think, is down to the fact that they're comforting, they tie things up in nice little bows, gives you answers, even if the answers are stupid, they're answers. Oh, you go home, you don't have to worry about it.'

A pretty good quote about any kind of storytelling I think. I reckon as long as you don't leave the audience/readers with trite and sickly answers, you're doing okay.


Rachel Fenton said...

My favourite short stories are the ones that go quietly but leave you wishing you'd grabbed them and snogged them; or the ones that have a tiny dagger in your heart that you didn't feel going in but it twists when you try to walk away.

When I read your post title I thought you meant "weakness" as in you love them; weakness as in chocolate is my weakness....

I'm yay for both....

Miles said...

'My favourite short stories are the ones that go quietly but leave you wishing you'd grabbed them and snogged them...'

Very nicely put ;-)

Teresa Stenson said...

I loved that too. Keep chuckling at it.