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25 June 2011 @ 04:15 pm
Most Satisfying Endings  
What are your favorite endings to FK episodes?  (Or FK fanfiction.)  What about them satisfies you?  In general, I'm looking not for 'shippy scenerios that satisfy very straightforwardly by uniting favored characters, but rather endings that offer other (or added) compensations.

I heard Henning Mankell, the author of the "Wallander" mysteries, interviewed on an NPR program this past week.  He made some far-reaching claims about the essential nature of the creative process that many would dispute, but one happened to be true for me as for him.  He said that he always knew the endings of his stories before he began writing them, that he could not get anywhere without knowing the ending; it was like wandering around without a map.  Elements may be discovered along the way, of course, but without a known destination, he can't well begin.

I work like that, too.  I need to know a story's heading.  My ancient December 1998 FK novel "Fireweed" could have been '96 vintage, except that I forgot what the ending was supposed to be, and had to drop it in the middle; I couldn't pick it up again until a conversation triggered my memory of the planned endgame.  I'm presently feeling a bit of that wading-through-mire with my 2011 [community profile] fkficfest/fkficfest story in somewhat the same way, as I did on my most recent oldschoolfic story, and I diagnose myself as mapless.  I need to spot the ending.

What endings "pay off" best?  How, or why?

Comments on Dreamwidth:
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 26th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
"a bit of the wading-through-quicksand...."

Oh, yeah.
Amy R.: Winterbrightknightie on June 26th, 2011 12:37 am (UTC)
I would like to retract the quicksand analogy, if I may, and substitute "mire." I was thinking of the mild real phenomenon, but the Hollywood exaggeration might instead come to mind, and that would be unfair to the perfectly nice prompt I received, when it was really a reflection on myself!

Do you happen to have any thoughts on endings?
(no subject) - greerwatson on June 28th, 2011 07:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brightknightie on July 1st, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Foxy11814foxy11814 on June 26th, 2011 01:19 am (UTC)
I probably don't have much to help you when it comes to endings, even though I will get to that in a moment, but this discussion reminds me of an interview I saw with one of the Lost creators/writers. He said when it comes to movies, he always has the ending in sight and stays true to it, but when it comes to television shows, it's not the same. He said he and the other writers may have a general idea of what the end will be, but it's never concrete. As the series progresses they start listening to the audience and their thoughts, especially from the internet. Sometimes what they learn from fans changes and leads the show. He gave the scenario of fans making connections to events in their series and in actual history that they didn't even realize they did and they would take that information and incorporate it into their show. He said it allowed their work on television to be more exciting and that it showed him how intelligent the mass audience really is. He said it was an adventure that he worked his way through.

I'm the same. Sometimes I do have a sure-fire ending in sight and work my way towards it, but other times, I just write and let it come to me. I do both. My story for fkficfest this year has a definite ending already planned but all the in-between is up in the air, LOL. But on the other hand, some of my best stories in other fandoms have been a series of stories that I had no idea where it would end up. They tend to get the most reviews and have requests to write more years later. And, like with the Lost writer, it might be due to the fact that if you post it in parts, you can read what others think, and even if you try to remain objective, what they think will more than likely affect your story in some way when you write the next piece. (I know it's kinda OT, but I wanted to share, LOL, since it reminded your entry reminded me of it.)

As for endings, I think I prefer the ones that have some kind of moral or meaning to the whole episode. I don't mean that to sound so cliched and lame, because I know I'm not describing it too well. I simply enjoy episodes that having endings like "Killer Instinct." This particular episode is pretty dramatic, and in the end, it literally states it's all about learning that friends make life worth living despite the fact that we could blink and they could all be gone...except in Nick's case that's a little more literal, LOL. I don't know. I just always like endings that ties up a central message that the show or fic is trying to portray.

Is that any help at all? LOL
Amy R.: Castbrightknightie on June 26th, 2011 10:56 pm (UTC)
Serial storytelling is definitely different from storytelling in discrete units. Obviously, this is not only a contemporary phenomenon -- Dickens wrote successfully in installments; Eliot stumbled when she tried it -- but nevertheless FK came from an era where serial storytelling was sternly frowned on in television (especially syndicated television).

I never watched Lost, but I hope that its writers tried to make individual episodes coherent units unto themselves, even while the larger story arc was allowed to evolve over time. It's too bad when serial storytelling becomes an excuse for sloppy beginnings and endings on individual story units (whether they're TV episodes, or comic book issues, or novels in a series).

I also like endings that exemplify the theme of the episode/issue/story! However, I'd never thought of "Killer Instinct" as doing that before; that's something interesting to chew over. To me, the end of "Killer Instinct" always seemed slightly alien to the rest of the episode, as if it came out of nowhere. It is true that Schanke and Natalie -- and Janette -- are working on Nick's side throughout. I suspect that what I wanted from "Killer Instinct" that I didn't get, which left me feeling the ending was somehow inadequate, was an explanation of where the serial killer was supposed to parallel the rest of the story; usually, the bad guy's experience is like or unlike Nick's in some way that illuminates a theme... I've never really been able to tease that out of KI. Perhaps I should revisit it, with that goal in mind.

Thank you for everything to think about! I hope that one of the thoughts will bump into another and an ending will spring forth fully formed. ;-) I have a cop plot, but without the payoff -- the motivations, the theme -- I'm not making progress. :-)
(no subject) - foxy11814 on June 26th, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brightknightie on June 27th, 2011 01:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - foxy11814 on June 27th, 2011 02:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
skieswideopen: FK: Janette smilingskieswideopen on June 26th, 2011 04:46 am (UTC)
I'm the same--I need to know the ending in order to write. Otherwise, I start but don't finish. (I've written very short fic without knowing the ending, but that's it.) With longer stories, I usually outline the whole thing. I don't always stick to it all the way through, but it helps me to know what scene is coming next.
Amy R.: Janettebrightknightie on June 26th, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC)
Do you happen to have any method for finding your endings? :-)
(no subject) - skieswideopen on June 27th, 2011 01:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brightknightie on July 1st, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
PJ1228pj1228 on June 26th, 2011 09:46 am (UTC)
I like endings that are a reflection of the whole story. This can very well be achieved by a Nightcrawler monologue, which always makes for a good ending in my opinion. I also like endings that give the entire story an unexpected twist or contain a relevation from a new angle.

Endings I rather not prefer are cliffhangers (except when there will definitely be a sequel that resolves the cliffhanger) although they make good suspence on occasion.

I started several of my stories with the final scene and worked myself backwards. But I also start sometimes somewhere in the middle and also in the beginning. However, I most rarely write a story straight from beginning to end. That's why I could never write a story in several parts because I always go back and add a scene here or there.

My favourite episode endings are "Sons of Belial" (the dark turn), "False Witness" (the light banter around the popcorn scene), "Crazy Love" (Nick's rendez-vous with Janette) and several more which have currently slipped my mind. I'll think more about this later on the train and get back to you.

PJ1228pj1228 on June 27th, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)
I promised to point out more episode endings that I find satisfying. Here they are:
- 1966: Lily's phone call shows nicely that Nick's involvement in the past still has an impact on the present and gives cause for eternal gratitude
- Love you to Death: Nick's explanation kind of reflects the entire first season and tells us why he stopped killing. The last scene is of course a satisfying feast for all Cousins. ;)
- A Fate worse than Death: Nick's "We either escape or die trying" is a nice reflection of the entire episode.
- Forward into the Past: I like it when Nick pulls out his half of the photo. It's so nice that he has it handy considering how many incarnations and moves lay inbetween.
- Partners of the Month: Nick corrects his selfish behaviour from the past and returns the painting.
- Blood Money: I guess I like any ending that shows Nick & Janette engaged in a kiss.
- Night in Question: Nick goes to Lacroix for help with his memory blanks. Very satisfying ending from a cousin's POV. :)
- Ashes to Ashes: Another nice Nick&Lacroix ending.
(no subject) - brightknightie on July 1st, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pj1228 on July 2nd, 2011 09:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brightknightie on July 1st, 2011 06:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pj1228 on July 2nd, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brightknightie on July 5th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pj1228 on July 5th, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pj1228 on July 2nd, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Athelas K. Weedmalinaldarose on June 26th, 2011 12:32 pm (UTC)
I don't have much to say on specific endings, and I realized, as I read through the comments, that I often start a story without knowing where it's going to go. I think my writing also depends, in part, on whether I'm writing original fiction or fan fic. Obviously, with fan fic, unless you're writing an AU, you need to keep certain things in mind and try not to break the place at the end.

I'm a huge fan of happy endings, possibly because most of the things I read as a kid ended "and they lived happily ever after."

Oh, and I hate it when the characters forget everything at the end.
PJ1228pj1228 on June 26th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
>I'm a huge fan of happy endings, possibly because most of the things I read as a kid ended "and they lived happily ever after."<

I also enjoy happy endings for the same reasons. :) However, in FK, the definition of Happy Ending varies in the eye of the beholder. I'm sure some would consider mortal Nick and Nat happily together a happy ending. I would consider this a catastrophe. ;) Instead I would consider Nick giving up his search for a cure a happy ending. :)

(no subject) - brightknightie on June 26th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - malinaldarose on June 27th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brightknightie on June 26th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
waltdwaltd on June 27th, 2011 04:57 am (UTC)
Satisfactory endings

The problem here (for me) is that I see three different things going on as to whether an episode is "satisfactory"; namely: 1/ a good story, 2/ good writing, and 3/ a good ending. Often you get two out of three.
I'd be willing to sacrifice 3 for 1 and 2.
I liked "Father Figure", I thought it was a decent story, fairly well told, but the ending left us hanging as to what happened to Daniel.
I think the ending of "Last Knight" was a good one 'cause it left things ambiguous (we didn't see Nick get staked, we don't know that Natalie lost too much blood, etc.). On the other hand, I hated the story and the story telling seemed to be more clips than anything else.
Most of the stories were pretty good. I liked "For I Have Sinned". Things seemed to have been well wrapped by the end, and the story and its telling were good. "The Fix is another favorite; I think it had 1, 2, and 3.
Or, take "Avenging Angel". I think the ending was tragic, but satisfactory in that it followed the theme. We don't always have to like an ending in order to appreciate it and let it have an impact.
I loved "My Boyfriend Is a Vampire". The ending resolved and tied things up. I didn't understand part of the story though – I thought Natalie's reasons for being angry with Nick weren't believable or valid, even if the ending tidied that up.
But, you could almost make these sorts of comments about any of the episodes. As someone else said, much depends on your personal preference.
waltdwaltd on June 27th, 2011 05:18 am (UTC)
End(ing?) Notes

I've written stories where I knew the ending (not often, but a couple of times).
I've written ones where I just started out and let the characters take the lead. These stories have ended up a far piece from where they started out.
Many times I just have a short scene that seems to fit into a larger story, and what it needs is a beginning and an ending. Or, I have a middle and need to add a beginning and work out an end.
Mostly, I have a very general outline: Here's a crime, here's what we know, people talk, complications arise, this has happened to Nick before ( i.e., the flashback) and finally we have an ending which has to fit the comments and the complications. If it doesn't, you've written yourself into a corner. So, if it doesn't hang together, you can re-write it, or you can try to write your way around it (which is more difficult but can be more fun – you can end up going places you never thought you would – which can be good).
Other times, a character will take over. "No, I will NOT do that Mr. Author; here's how it’s going to go." I'm not sure whether this is a quirk of writing, or signs of incipient schizophrenia. Or (more likely), you have a minor character that seems to start taking over a story – which, if filmed, would provide a great guest shot opportunity.
A number of mystery writers have said that they have an ending (who dun it and how) and that in writing their book, they work backwards filling in the details and plot lines as needed.
But, I think we all write so individually and idiosyncratically that each of us has different things that work. So, to each his/her own, and whatever works, go for it.
[Although, on the other hand, it can be a learning experience to try out a different plan just to see what happens. If you usually write to a specific end, try writing without one, just keep going for a few pages to see what develops. It may not be any good, but you may learn from the exercise.]
PJ1228pj1228 on June 27th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
Re: End(ing?) Notes
> I'm not sure whether this is a quirk of writing, or signs of incipient schizophrenia.

LOL I sure hope it is the first and not the second because this happens to me quite often with Lacroix. I start a story in which he is supposed to have a marginal appearance and somehow he ends up being the driving force of the entire story. :)
Re: End(ing?) Notes - brightknightie on July 1st, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Amy R.: N&Nbrightknightie on July 1st, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
>"* Not to worry. I've definitely mentally filed you under "good stuff"."

~grin~ Thank you kindly. ~grin~

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on those tag scenes! I also like the mood of returning to ordinary life and reflecting on the previous action as a place to end, when feasible. It's part of the feel of dearly-loved FK canon. And while I have no interest, myself, in N&N romance, valuing instead their friendship, I do of course also enjoy the concluding conversations between Nick and Natalie, exploring themes and ramifications.

It's been very interesting reading everyone's takes on the concept of "favorite endings," and noticing that almost everyone goes straight to the tags. This is entirely natural in FK! I should have expected it! But in fact, wrapped up in my own head, I was thinking more of the way that the plot and theme, ideally, come together before the final break and the tag. The tag then reflects back on that convergence. It's easy as pie to write a tag once there's an ending on which to reflect. Endings, though: they challenge me!