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Help! Ending a story, or short story.

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AdelineKate



Joined: 28 Sep 2010
Posts: 1
Help! Ending a story, or short story.  Reply with quote  

Hi, I'm a creative writing major at School of the arts, a public high school alternative, that you audition for. So I am a pretty good writer, however in our class we have had numerous stories and short stories to write, and i can never seem to be happy with my endings. I always have to end it at a point I'm not comfortable with because of the due date for my story. You are probably wondering, "why don't you ask one of your teachers at this arts school?" but I have, and there is really no suggestions they have come up with for me, or any I can be happy with.
So, to break it down, my question is,
How can I end a story? Is there anything to include to make me happy with it, and to make the reader happy with it?
Thanks so much! Smile
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Post Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:41 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
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I don't write the first word until I know the ending. If the ending doesn't work I don't start until it does.
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Post Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:53 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
festusbongwater



Joined: 20 Feb 2009
Posts: 33
Endings  Reply with quote  

Some of the best short story endings I've read or heard are the ones that involve a surprise -- like when you suddenly realize that the narrator is dead, or that the meat in the casserole that mom just served up is actually that deadbeat dad.
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Post Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:09 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
FattyFattyPorkFace



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 6381
Location: Michigan
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I never know the ending until I'm around halfway into the story.
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Post Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:28 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
db_defenestrate



Joined: 06 Oct 2010
Posts: 1
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Hi Addie!

To maintain surprise in a short story, it helps to allow yourself some surprise - as in write your way through - don't try and know up front where, exactly, a story might go.

Short stories have something in common with lyric poetry - or, at least, a good literary short story will - in that they both often try and end on a lyric high note. To accomplish that, writers often end with an image that is resonant and symbolic/metaphoric in some manner.

The best advice I can give: pick up a good collection of short stories and read all of the endings (the beginnings, too - you'll start to notice how quickly published authors introduce drama/conflict; young writers often feel the need to give backstory for a few paragraphs. If you do that, train yourself out of it). You can pick up any of the "Best American" collected short stories, or read what is available at the New Yorker online. There is also a Best European collection that is out now, although much of that work might be more avant garde than you're looking for.

Here are a couple amazing stories that might change the way you look at short stories:

Rachel Glaser: http://www.unsaidmagazine.com/display_lit.php?issue=4&file_url=glaser.html

Julian Gough's In the Jar:
http://www.juliangough.com/read-me-for-free/

and some American masters currently working in the form:
Lorrie Moore: (Pick up Birds of America if you want an amazing collection): http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/nov/01/lorrie-moore-story

Stuart Dybek: http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2007/07/09/070709fi_fiction_dybek

Post Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:40 am   View user's profile Send private message
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