Is it normal to do this? I never have before.
I usually wait until I know the “ending” of the story, even if the ending is all the way in part II, III or IV.
I published this a day or two ago, but because of some, I guess, moral knots I need to untie, I do not know how it’s gonna end.
Is that fucked up? or am I blowing something mundane out of proportion and this is actually what most writers do anyway, and it’s fine.
I have yet to publish a story where I knew the definite ending.
But then, I’m also notorious for not ending my stories. Somebody has to lock me into some room (shackled to the keyboard, locked up in a chastitity device and with a porn filter installed on the computer) so I can finally finish all my series!
Lol. That sounds like a good idea for a new story.
He’ll start a series about it, and ironically, not finish it!
(edit; pot kettle, btw )
Do I always know where I’m going? Yeah, especially for my longer stuff. I like to plot out the major beats, even if it’s just a sentence or two for each chapter.
Have I always? Nope. I’ve got two unfinished series out there and I didn’t full-plot either of them. Both of them have endings planned, but the middles were starting to drag, and I’m holding them until I figure out a way to make the journey a little more interesting. For me that’s always the danger – I know how I’ll end, but will it be a fun ride to get there?
I’m posting my current novel chapter-by-chapter over on my Patreon, and it’s fully plotted. Literally every story beat for every character is mapped out in the worlds most annoying spreadsheet. As I actually write the thing, I let myself make whatever changes I want, but nothing that diverts those plot beats.
No matter what I write, someone always tells me that they’d like another chapter or two. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a final ending – at some point you just have to say ‘this story is done’.
I don’t think I ever know an ending, unless I know I only want it to be one short story and not a series. My goal isn’t to write wrapped-up stories and plots, but to explore a specific fantasy mechanism and exploit it until it no longer excites me (as much). So, if I think I’ve fully explored a fantasy mechanism, I end the story. If I feel like there is still room for nuance, I’ll leave the story open ended, thinking I might one day become fixated by that fantasy again and explore it from a new angle.
So for instance, in the Secret Sauna, I ended the story because I didn’t feel like there was anything to add - I fully explored the sauna / cock theft fantasy of that premise IMO. Most of my other stories I could see continuing, but I have to wait for (or try to stimulate) that fantasy to hijack my brain again. When that happens, I’ll progress the plot as it fits the direction of the fantasy.
In my “legitimate” writing, I always need to have a solid outline before I start, and at least need to know generally where I think the story should be going, even if that changes as I go along. However, I frequently have started multi-chapter stories here without knowing where they’re going, and the writing process itself informs me where the story needs to go. Sometimes, my own curiosity to figure out what’s going to happen will spur my writing process but, after a chapter or two, I generally figure out where things need to go and start fleshing out a detailed outline so I don’t forget anything.
Unfortunately, once I’ve figured out all the mechanics of how the story should play out, my urge to actually write the story can diminish. Not to compare myself to Hitchcock, but he often said that solving the problems of how to tell the story were what he most enjoyed, and actually shooting the movie could be anticlimactic. I feel that way sometimes. For example, I had a complete outline of where my recent “Mariposa Halloween” story would go, with all the twists and turns mapped out in detail (including extensive roles for Billy Farrow and Reese characters from my “X-Dream Makeover” series), but it would have taken months to write the whole thing and I just didn’t feel the urgency the further I got away from Halloween.
I don’t like leaving stories unfinished, but writing stories for free, I need to get some enjoyment out of the process. I did open up “The Reflex” as a community story, so anyone was welcome to keep it going, either based on my notes or any other direction they’d like to take it.
I do it frequently. I’m doing it now, in fact. I don’t have a concrete ending for Web of Trust. I know whose POV it’s going to be told from, though, and I have some idea of what he’s thinking and some of the waypoints he has to hit between now and then, but I don’t have a concrete ending.
I also have a couple of stories that could be made into series, but I have no intention of doing so myself. I’ll post them when they’re ready and then just leave them open for additional chapters from other people and see if anyone wants to pick them up.
In PHOLUS REBORN I had every beat plotted out.
In CENTAUROMACHY, I returned to what is my normal style, I have the major beats in my head, but more as benchmarks, and I let the characters inform me of what they want to do. The climactic moment is a wedding, and I must’ve squeezed in 5 chapters prepping for it.
And for the record, I always know the ending. John Irving used to write backwards. Start at the end and plot back from there. I’ve tried that — it’s hard. But I’ve never gone into a story without knowing it’s end.
EXCEPT POLLINATION: the SERIES, which I was making up as I went along. And we all know what a steaming piece of shit that became…
I’m in the same boat as you are.
I usually have a vague idea of the outcome but the flow of imagination isn’t necessarily logical. I like to write out the dialogue of important scenes. That usually helps me figure out how the story should end. Sometimes, an ending pops in my head at the last second. My mood also affects my writing. If I am unhappy I will write more negative outcomes. If I am in a good mood I lean towards happy ending.
I have to know the ending so I know where I am going or the story really suffers in my mind.
I got, “Unrealistically happy ending”
“Pragmatically happy ending”
“Pragmatic but, sad ending”
And every 3 hours for the last 4 days I’ve been switching between them
Explains how you’re able to post stories like a metronome; I admire your ability to write to a tempo!
I generally have an idea of where the plot is going before I start a series but I’ve thrown myself enough curveballs at this point that I don’t get too attached to the initial idea of where things are going. Some of my best work has been in weird spandrels of text that wound up really interesting or scorching hot situations that were definitely not in the initial brief.
I’m always willing to entertain the possibility that past!Dace was dumb and that present!Dace is wiser and more skilled and more likely to come up with a good idea.
Yeah I’m worried sometimes I am flooding the site with my shit, but I have to know where I am driving before I can start to the car. If I don’t I find the story is just wandering all over the place and I end up hating it with a passion by the end lol
You aren’t. Producing work regularly is nothing to be worried about.
‘Yeah I’m worried sometimes I am flooding the site with my shit.’
I wish I had that problem, Jack.
lol I’m serious, I am worried people just go that fucker again and zone out.
@Jack_Parker Don’t worry. There are always people enjoying and appreciating your stories. Your stories cover a niche that is always in high demand.