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Ending Stories

richardshagrin
Updated:

A recent blog by "old man with a pen" indicated the only ending to a story is when the characters die.

I emailed back that that isn't true. The New Testament has most of its action after Jesus dies. Lots of Do-Over stories have the character die in the first chapter, to get him relocated in his new body, or in a younger version of himself, or rarely, herself. Its not only Do-Overs that have a character die, CMsix and other authors have aliens transfer a dying man's personality to a new planet, often Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon era mostly in a greatly improved body.

But aside from that issue, how stories get ended in a satisfactory way IMHO should be with a life changing event other than death. Marriage, birth of a child, going to a new school or college, graduation, serving in the military and/or discharge or retirement, a new job, a promotion, moving to a new location, other kinds of life changes (Getting a Nobel Prize) are good high points to leave the character(s) to "live happily ever after" and not face complaints from readers. Killing them off tends to reduce the opportunity for sequels, although Arthur Cannon Doyle managed it with Sherlock Holmes, sending him over a waterfall, and later finding out he survived. And readers mostly prefer to think about what happens next to happy characters riding off into the sunset.

Hiyo Silver, Away was the typical Lone Ranger ending. I have discussed this with an author who writes on SOL and his suggestion was that Silver had two names, his first name was Ohio. Or maybe they were headed for Ohio. I can't make up my mind. I am pretty sure, and spell check agrees, Hiyo is not a word. Tonto means stupid in Spanish. Kemo Sabe may mean who knows him, or might be something less complimentary than Stupid.

But the theme of this topic is intended to be good endings for stories and what makes them good, in the responder's opinion. I just read a very short story where a post Civil War (OK, War of Northern Aggression) veteran in Indian Country found an Indian widow and plot happens, they make love and bang, we are in appendix land, we don't see the characters any more, just get told they went to Tennessee and had children and the narrator is one of the great, great grandchildren and he hopes to see his ever so great Indian grandmother when he dies and get to know her. I rated the story Good, but indicated in an email that the ending needed work. If all else fails and no-one has a favorite story they want to discuss the ending and if it could be improved, we could discuss this one. (Chula's Way by Silverhawk)

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Arthur Cannon Doyle managed it with Sherlock Holmes, sending him over a waterfall, and later finding out he survived.


That's not quite the way it happened. Arthur Conan Doyle was sick of Sherlock Holmes and fully intended his death to be permanent. At the time, the fans of Sherlock homes raised such a fuss that the newspaper in which the serialized stories were originally published resorted to badgering him into resurrecting Holmes.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

A recent blog by "old man with a pen" indicated the only ending to a story is when the characters die.


A story should end when it's reached the end of what the author wanted it to say. I do have a few stories where I pass that point and close out the rest of the Main Character's life to close it out, but I also have a few where it reaches the end of what the story is there to tell, and then I close it off in an appropriate manner - Star Performance being a classic example of that, as are most of the Rivers Region stories.

In my latest story I set out to tell the story of the guy's first few years in Arizona, and only those first few years - even said so in the description - but also included a short summary of the rest of his life to close out the story and give readers closure on it as a lead into the epilogue. I could have easily left the last two chapters off, but didn't.

Wheezer

Sometimes the author has nothing more to add to a story or series, runs out of ideas, or just becomes sick of it. I sympathize with the readers who want more though. There are several such stories & series that I wish the authors would write more about. I recently asked ElSol about two of his. One he plans to write more of, one not. Is there such a thing as half-disappointed, half-delighted? I think that's the definition of mixed emotions. :D

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@richardshagrin


how stories get ended in a satisfactory way IMHO should be with a life changing event other than death.


That's how stories begin.

If you believe plot = conflict, the inciting incident is what sets the plot in motion. It's what causes the conflict, usually a life changing incident. The story ends when that conflict is resolved.

A lot of my readers believe the story ends when the character dies because they keep telling me the story isn't done. They want to know what happens to the characters next. I guess when they die, there is no next so the readers are content.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Most of the boy meets girl stories here on SOL don't start with a life changing event, unless meeting the girl is a life changer. Typically the romantic ones end with boy and girl getting married, or returning from their honeymoon (so the much sex can happen) or possibly a new job for the husband, or both, or for longer stories when the wife gives birth to one or more children. The long, long sagas follow the children through life.

Unless there is a cheating wife or similar plot device, most of the interest in the story ends when the couple go from several times a day to a couple of times a month, as reaching a certain age tends to do. Not every author can spend chapters about getting up in the morning, SSS, dress, eat breakfast, travel to work, work, go home, eat, watch TV and go to bed, rinse and repeat, that real life tends to impose.

Of course there are other plots, with special powers developing and evil people or aliens to defeat, but the more powerful the hero the more overwhelming the enemy needs to be to properly challenge the hero so there is some suspense. Of course high school students can always play football, or some other sport, and win championships, or get close and end the story at the end of the season, or when athletic letters or other awards are handed out. Then the sequel is next season, or when college starts, or the pro draft selects the hero and he plays in the NFL. Or if Bruce Jenner in the Women's Professional Football League. Hey, its fiction, we can add any organization the story needs.

Once in a while the hero joins the army instead of college football. That author hasn't posted the last half of that story yet, we know it doesn't end at marriage, or the hero getting a job as a cop, but there still the chance of ending it at the birth of a child. Is going out to play football in high school a life changing event?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@richardshagrin

The long, long sagas follow the children through life.


I was talking about a story, not a long saga. Those bore me to death. I don't want to follow a character through life. I want to see a snippet in his life, something that's interesting.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Switch Blayde

Those bore me to death. I don't want to follow a character through life. I want to see a snippet in his life, something that's interesting.

Depends how it's done.
If it's (pretty much) day by day till the end, then they can drag on painfully. Then you get others where something is always happening, and they can be difficult to deal with the ridiculousness of it all.
Then there are those that are well paced that do some bits day bay day, others week by week, skipping over weeks or months to move things along, but not having every day that is covered being one drama/ adventure after another.

sejintenej

I don't think that Old Man with a Pen was referring to the initial death/resurrection of the central character in a do-over story but to the final outcome - a bullet, drowning, heart attack, not waking up.

I disagree with him; each story builds slowly or quickly to a foreseen conclusion (getting silver medal in the international youth hockey championship, becoming POTUS, building a Pizza chain, reducing weight and becoming a "new person" ............ ) which is effectively the story end.
Looking back, unless you include the habitually record-breaking Brian Morse (Second Chance), I am having trouble discovering many deadly endings. Yes, there was the paramedic whose benefactor (who had a minor role) shot himself but most authors succeed admirably in creating a cut-off acceptable at least to me. Final death is not always a requisite of a story

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@sejintenej

I think part of the problem may be to do with the approach taken by the author.
When the story has a planned focal point that is achieved, or a series of events meaning the main character no longer faces a threat or challenge, then the story can naturally conclude.
When the story seems to be written with no real purpose or story plan and just meanders from one minor event to another, possibly the only ending is death, because the characters never had any meaning in the first place.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

I've always liked the finality of ending a story in a character's death, but only partly because it officially ends a story that's gone on too long. If you're trying to make a point about life, ending with a dramatic event (like the character's death) essentially spells out in capital letters what the effect on his (the character's life) was. But I also like the idea of personal sacrifice. If I have a character leading a movement, or learning new kills/abilities, having them die represents the ultimate sacrifice, as well as clearly stating that some things are worth sacrificing oneself for.

What gets interesting for me, is when I end a story in a way it simply can't continue (everyone dies, the hero leaves the planet, etc.) I'll often get an idea for a sequel which moves the story in a whole new direction (even without the main character). Then you've got to figure out how to continue it (without resurrecting dead characters, as was done with Sherlock Holmes).

Crumbly Writer

@ustourist

By the way, if I'm not mistaken (was the reference to Holmes here or in another thread?), Holmes never survived the fall off the cliff. Instead, the later books were all flashbacks to his earlier years. But it's been so long that I've read them, I could be completely wrong on this.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

the later books were all flashbacks to his earlier years. But it's been so long that I've read them, I could be completely wrong on this.


1. No books are involved. The Sherlock Holmes mysteries were published as free standing stories in a London news paper. None of the stories were published in book form until well after the authors death.

2. In the first story published after the author first killed Holmes, Holmes explains to Watson how he survived.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

No books are involved. The Sherlock Holmes mysteries were published as free standing stories in a London news paper.


Wrong. Some were published as novels in the first place, and many were re-printed as story collections while ACD was alive. There's an on-going copyright issue because of the differences in the UK and US copyright laws. When ACD visited the USA a US publisher got permission to put out a collection of some of his works which and those works are still under copyright control of that publishing house in the USA, while are in the public domain outside the USA. Which is why some titles are made as movies outside the USA so they don't have to pay royalties on the works.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Conan_Doyle_bibliography

El_Sol

Generally, I find the ending is irrelevant to the reader who 'likes' the story. A call for a 'sequel' typically is a call for 'more of the same'.

I wrote The Wolf Summers fully intending it to be a completed package from beginning to end... every chapter even reads as a standalone story. It has as definitive an ending as I could imagine writing without killing a first person narrator.

And the first email was asking if I was going to write a sequel.

WTF!!!

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@El_Sol

I am pretty sure the request for a sequel was meant as a compliment. If he didn't like the story it is unlikely he would have asked for more. From his point of view, you write stories he likes, he wants you to write more stories he likes, why not ask for a sequel for the last story he read? Just because people like your stories doesn't mean they are as smart as you. Please be happy you have a fan, even if he wants you to write more like the story he just read.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@richardshagrin

What Richard said.

Readers fall in love with characters and stories. Just look at the successes of J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Martin, S.M. Sterling, Terry Goodkind, etc. etc. All have created extremely popular story universes and characters that readers cannot get enough of.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Wheezer

Publishers also push for sequels, trilogies, and other continuing series because they have a built in market. Going back in time, look at all the Oz books, or Tarzan novels. Or Hardy Boys or Tom Swift (Sr. and Jr.) juveniles. Not just books that might be dismissed as pulp fiction or for kids. Honor Harrington is a character in at least a dozen good selling SF books and her "universe" has at least a dozen other books set in it.

Mostly publishing is about making money. Sequels sell, and the reading public has been trained to look for books in a series. And buy them.

Replies:   Dominions Son  Wheezer
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Mostly publishing is about making money. Sequels sell


Yes, and if someone picks up a later book in a series and likes it, they might go back an buy any earlier books in that series that are still in print.

Wheezer

@richardshagrin

Publishers push for sequels when the original is an exceptional book. They know the reading public will love it and will look for sequels. iirc, the rights for sequels are often negotiated before the first book is released if it looks like it will be a hit.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Wheezer

Publishers push for sequels when the original is an exceptional book. They know the reading public will love it and will look for sequels. iirc, the rights for sequels are often negotiated before the first book is released if it looks like it will be a hit.

Until recently, sequels were the exceptions. They typically only succeeded with well-known authors. But after a whole series (pun intended) of smash-hit YA series, now traditional publishers are demanding that new authors turn their single book into a series before they'll even consider it. Whereas before they saw a pile of unsold books if the first book flopped, now they see easy marketing for an additional two books (in ever decreasing amounts).

just-this-guy

In the case of a few of my early "First" stories it ends with a punch line

"Will there be cake?"
"It was an accident!"

cave jug

@richardshagrin

Well, there are stories who has been "padded" by the author just for his amusement! And there are to many to mention.
My "favorite " example of a story which ended years ago, but chapters are being posted like there is no tomorrow is " Jeff and Arlene". It is a drivel of highest order, lost every appeal years ago, and yet, the author thinks there is more to write about.
This guy has not written anything else for 10 years, has, by the look of it, a delusion of grandeur, and has no idea what a long tale suppose to be. If there is any truth in some people writing for their own pleasure, this is it.

Replies:   Grant  Wheezer
Grant

@cave jug

This guy has not written anything else for 10 years, has, by the look of it, a delusion of grandeur, and has no idea what a long tale suppose to be. If there is any truth in some people writing for their own pleasure, this is it.

It rates as number 10 in the Top 50 serials weekly download list, so it would appear there is some interest in it even if it doesn't appeal to us.

Replies:   cave jug
Wheezer

@cave jug

Speaking of padding stories, there's one (at least) story out on SOL where the author has padded his word count by the thousands by cutting and pasting song lyrics.. Instead of stating what popular song the characters sang, he follows the statement with the complete lyrics to the song. I gave up around book 3 or 4, but it's now up to book 9 or 10...

Replies:   Grant  Ernest Bywater  cave jug
Grant

@Wheezer

Speaking of padding stories, there's one (at least) story out on SOL where the author has padded his word count by the thousands by cutting and pasting song lyrics.. Instead of stating what popular song the characters sang, he follows the statement with the complete lyrics to the song. I gave up around book 3 or 4, but it's now up to book 9 or 10...


I think I read up to about book 4, and by that time it was getting repetitive. Also the abrupt actions of some of the characters (although the main character in particular) also put me off the story. Coupled with the increasingly levels of suspension of disbelief required I didn't bother with any of the following books.

Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

the statement with the complete lyrics to the song.


which is also a legal issue due to copyright aspects, which is why I only use a few words when I mention a song.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

It may be that lyrics alone are not protected. There are sites you can Google (or Bing) that give the lyrics of lots of songs. Perhaps they are a lawsuit waiting to happen, but lyrics aren't that hard to find.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@richardshagrin


Perhaps they are a lawsuit waiting to happen, but lyrics aren't that hard to find.


Many such sites actually pay for the right to publish them, while many others are a lawsuit waiting to happen. Some people think the lyrics alone are safe to state, but the copyright on the lyrics is separate to the copyright on the music, and both require legal approval to use if they aren't in the public domain. The latest ruling on the Happy Birthday song is a very good example of this.

edit to add: Just checked a couple of Lyric sites and found this info on terms of use:

http://www.songlyrics.com/

Use of Material.

The Company authorizes you to view and download a single copy of the material on SongLyrics.com.com (the "Web Site") solely for your personal, noncommercial use.

Acceptable Site Use.

General Rules: Users may not use the Web Site in order to transmit, distribute, store or destroy material (a) in violation of any applicable law or regulation, (b) in a manner that will infringe the copyright, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property rights of others or violate the privacy, publicity or other personal rights of others, (c) that is defamatory, obscene, threatening, abusive or hateful, or (d) otherwise prohibited by the Company.
............

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/about/tos.htm

4.2 By using the Service, you acknowledge and agree that you have no right to provide any files obtained through the Service to any other party or through any other means. You agree that you will not duplicate or otherwise reproduce the Content, or any portion thereof, onto any physical medium, memory or device now known or hereinafter devised. In addition, you agree that you will not attempt to, or encourage or assist any other person to, circumvent or modify any Content protection methods. "Lyrics" means the words of a musical composition.
.................

http://www.metrolyrics.com/

You are only permitted to access and view the Content for personal, non-commercial purposes in accordance with these Terms, and may not build a business or other enterprise utilizing any of the Content, whether for profit or not. Except as provided in Section 4(a) or otherwise expressly authorized by us in writing, you may not either directly or through the use of any software, device, internet site, web-based service or other means download, stream capture, store in a database, archive or otherwise copy any part of the Services or Content; upload, sell, rent, lease, lend, broadcast, transmit or otherwise disseminate, distribute, display or perform any part of the Services or Content; license or sublicense any part of the Services or Content; or in any way exploit any part of the Services or Content. In addition, except as provided in Section 4(a) or otherwise expressly authorized by us in writing, you are strictly prohibited from modifying Content; creating, distributing or advertising an index of any significant portion of the Content; or otherwise creating derivative works or materials that otherwise are derived from or based in any way on the Content, including mash-ups and similar videos, montages, translations, desktop themes, fonts, icons, wallpaper, greeting cards, and merchandise. This prohibition from creating derivative works is applicable even if you intend to give away the derivative material free of charge.

...................

They all seem to insist you can't use them for any commercial style usage, and putting it in a published story (paid for or free) is a commercial style usage. It seems they have the approval of the copyright holders to make them available on their site for non-commercial uses, they may even have paid for that approval.

cave jug

@Wheezer

Quite right, you had more patience by the sound of it, I persevered through the book one and then ditched it altogether for the same reason. We are talking of "The Conductor" saga, are we not?
Very drawn out and repetitive.

Replies:   Wheezer
cave jug

@Grant

And that is a prime example how the scoring can deform the reality. All high scores were given early, when story promised so much. I'd like to see one of you guys review it now. Readers can not put their views in as you know.
Yes, there must be people who are still reading it, no doubt, but overall the interest has been declining. I am quite confidant the numbers would be no where near the 9s and 10s.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Grant
Ernest Bywater

@cave jug

And that is a prime example how the scoring can deform the reality.


You can go back to the stories and enter a new score. The system as it is now, and has been for a few years, will remove your old high score and replace it with the latest score you give it. If the old score was prior to the current system it will register the latest score and lower the overall score, anyway.

Replies:   cave jug
Wheezer

@cave jug

:D Yup! :D

My guess is the author's main purpose was to reach that magic number that gets free Premium membership - something I will not have to look forward to for a very long time. ;)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer


My guess is the author's main purpose was to reach that magic number that gets free Premium membership - something I will not have to look forward to for a very long time. ;)


write a good story and you'll get it quicker than you realise because the figure is defined by the story size and the score.

Grant
Updated:

@cave jug

And that is a prime example how the scoring can deform the reality. All high scores were given early, when story promised so much.


Each book has it's own score.

Yes, there must be people who are still reading it, no doubt, but overall the interest has been declining.


The number of downloads for each book is dropping off. But I suspect that would be the case for many stories.

From what I can recall the download numbers apply for each chapter as it is released, then you get the download number for a story as a whole once it is complete.

People read the first one, many a chapter at a time as it is released, then the following ones. There may be a break at some stage so they go back & re-read an earlier story or 2 to refresh their memory, then continue on with the current ones, but those ones are complete so they don't get the chapter by chapter as it's released download numbers.


I am quite confidant the numbers would be no where near the 9s and 10s.


The last 4 books are rating better than the first books; the current one is slightly lower than the 5h, but still better than the first 4.

I suspect it's like the Wolves and Dragons of the Blood series- there's a core group of readers that think it's the greatest thing ever written & vote accordingly, and have probably read it several times.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Grant

Wolves & Dragons....another series that I really, really wanted to like, but was pulling my hair out and screaming at the inconsistencies, spelling & grammar mistakes, homophone hell, etc. by the middle of book four. In retrospect, I'm surprised I made it that far. The author's attitude had a lot to do with my dropping it.

Replies:   graybyrd
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

It may be that lyrics alone are not protected. There are sites you can Google (or Bing) that give the lyrics of lots of songs. Perhaps they are a lawsuit waiting to happen, but lyrics aren't that hard to find.

When I included writer quotes for each chapter in a new book (my lesbian detective story), I researched this. It turns out that you can use 20% of anything within copyright, as long as you properly attribute it. That means that you can't include entire songs (especially if you include the music as well), but you can easily include 1/5th of the total song (potentially a single verse).

Richard, if you're thinking of apps that listen to music and then present you with the words, that's a different case, as the music studios are granting you the rights to the words in the hopes of hooking you as a listening (i.e. they're giving the words away for free in the hope you'll buy the song/album).

Many such sites actually pay for the right to publish them, while many others are a lawsuit waiting to happen. Some people think the lyrics alone are safe to state, but the copyright on the lyrics is separate to the copyright on the music, and both require legal approval to use if they aren't in the public domain. The latest ruling on the Happy Birthday song is a very good example of this.

Ernest, again, the complication to the Happy Birthday song is the combination of music and lyrics. I'm sure you'd have no trouble repeating the lyrics in a story (though technically, that incorporates much more than 20% of the total lyrics, so what do I know!).

sejintenej

@Grant
And that is a prime example how the scoring can deform the reality. All high scores were given early, when story promised so much.

This why I appreciated the author who turned off scoring for the first ten or so chapters. Now that a reader's scoring is changed to the latest score (which may bring it down) I am still a little concerned. In a long story some chapters are good and almost bu definition some are not so good. Let's say I give 9 for chapter 4, 3 for chapter 6 and 7 for chapter 8 the system (as I understand it) gives a 7 from me being the latest score. The average would be 6; I suppose you can't please everyone all the time.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I'm sure you'd have no trouble repeating the lyrics in a story


Until this court case repeating the lyrics in a story meant you had to pay royalties because the company was very aggressive in protecting their copyright. However, the court case says they don't have a valid copyright on the lyrics due to the way things happened then, so it's now public domain.

Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

Let's say I give 9 for chapter 4, 3 for chapter 6 and 7 for chapter 8 the system (as I understand it) gives a 7 from me being the latest score.


The concept is you score the whole story, so you really shouldn't register a score until the end and then it's on how you liked the whole story. But since it's possible to score after each chapter some people lodge a score after each chapter, I'd hope they were basing the score on the story overall.

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

This why I appreciated the author who turned off scoring for the first ten or so chapters. Now that a reader's scoring is changed to the latest score (which may bring it down) I am still a little concerned. In a long story some chapters are good and almost bu definition some are not so good.

Sejintenej, from what I've observed, most readers are fairly good about this. They'll score a story early on how much they enjoy it, then they'll score each chapter as it comes out, voting whether the chapter is especially strong or particularly weak, which is extremely helpful intel. When the story completes, they'll then go back (assuming they're still reading) and give the story an overall score.

What's funny, is that all of my 1-bombers follow the same procedure. They actively read all of my stories, but as soon as they see a new one, they'll automatically vote it as a 1 to punish me for my character's views. However, if there's a strong action scene, all the 1s jump to 3s and all the 3s jump to 5s, then fall back afterwards.

For a long time, they all gave me 1 votes, but I decided to teach them a lesson in voting by restarting the story theme they objected to so much (if featured a FOX News fan, and had nothing to do with politics itself). When they couldn't protest the new story theme, they learned not to score 1s, otherwise they couldn't drop the score at all.

Yet, they're my loyal fans, and I love them one and all. Each of us has our own crazy, the secret is knowing which to keep in our pants and let to allow to roam free. 'D

cave jug

@Ernest Bywater

I may be mistaken, but I found that once I give a score to a chapter or a whole story, I can not vote again. If that is not the case, what is the point of having a scoring system?
Manipulating it in any way gives a skewed result, does it not?

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@cave jug


I may be mistaken, but I found that once I give a score to a chapter or a whole story, I can not vote again.


You can vote again. If you go to the voting it will show you what you scored it last. All you have to do is change it.

ADDED WITH EDIT:
Not only is that good for voting a chapter at a time, but sometimes I reread a story without realizing it. When I go to vote I find out the last time I read it I have it a higher or lower score than I would now. I re-score it.

Ernest Bywater

@cave jug

In the past you were restricted to give one score only, but the last time (some years back) there was a change to the scoring system Lazeez created a system where in recorded the score you gave to a story and you can update it at any time. When you do your previous score is removed and the new one applied to the story. Even when you go back and re-score one you previously scored under the old system the new score is applied to the story's score.

richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

Rescoring, by chapter, lets the author know, if he wants to look it up, how individual chapters appeal to his readers. Chapters people dislike get lower scores, ones they like gain ground. Its a cheap way to give feedback. Its less useful when multiple chapters are posted together.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

In the past you were restricted to give one score only, but the last time (some years back) there was a change to the scoring system Lazeez created a system where in recorded the score you gave to a story and you can update it at any time.

Ernest, the old system had a bug in it and relied on the site's cookies to determine who'd voted on a particular story. Given that, many people were voting for stories multiple times. Given that background, Lazeez revised the voting, giving each reader/story combination a unique score and allowing them to modify it over time (assuming readers would want to change their scores at a story's end.

I prefer the new method, especially because I like knowing how readers respond to specific chapters. Though it produces unexpected results when a story completes. Since the regular readers tend to finish it first, the score typically jumps up with everyone's 'final' score. However, when people who've never read it before start reading it (because it's now finished), the score will drop since many of these readers weren't that intrigued by the story premise to begin with. Thus a story might finish with a lower score than it had it's entire run, and not just because it had a poor ending.

Replies:   cave jug
cave jug

@Crumbly Writer

Well CW it makes sense what you say and I do agree with you on general. I find it difficult though, to read 25 stories as they go, simply, I can not concentrate and stay in the environment with all of them. That is why I wait for the end, and score once when I'm done.
I do understand the value of the feedback by readers while you are still writing one. It is simply my preference, just as it is with a hard copy of any publication.
I would be interested how others manage this.

richardshagrin

@cave jug

I read stories by authors with a history of good stories that come to a satisfactory ending, mostly with story descriptions that interest me that I read each new chapter as it comes out, and change my vote to reflect what I think of that chapter. There are half a dozen such stories being posted weekly at this time. There are others I wait until I can be sure the story will be marked complete. Sometimes I have nothing else to read, so start a story with a lot of chapters completed just to have something to read. I can't really give authors any useful advice. Write good stories doesn't seem all that useful to me.

Crumbly Writer

@cave jug

Well CW it makes sense what you say and I do agree with you on general. I find it difficult though, to read 25 stories as they go, simply, I can not concentrate and stay in the environment with all of them. That is why I wait for the end, and score once when I'm done.

Believe me, I don't object to either technique (voting once at the end, or voting weekly) as long as readers vote (it's best not being completely ignored!).

The weekly voting doesn't bother me either, because they'll still give the entire book a comprehensive review, which is what helps new readers, many of who--like you--come in after the story is completed.

I don't think this is what Lazeez intended, but it works out in the end--which actually speaks for Lazeez's making it open-ended enough to work in the real world, rather than trying to shoehorn everyone into an 'approved' model.

As for me, I like to encourage authors, especially if they're new or trying something a bit off-center. So I'll vote weekly, rewarding a fast action scene or romantic interlude. Voting up good chapters is a low-pain way of contributing to the creative process.

Perv Otaku

TL;DR on the thread so far, but there is only partial validity in the notion of a story not being over until the character is dead.

At the heart of the matter is the audience wanting to know "what happens next" because they have become invested in the character(s) and enjoy them very much.

The root of a story is something interesting happening to the character(s). Their life until now hasn't been interesting. Their life after the story ends isn't interesting. Their life during the story is the interesting part, the conflict and the resolution.

As long as the character is alive there is a non-zero possibility of another story-worthy event happening to them. However, the grander the story and the more that the resolution is complete and satisfying, the less you should really want to know what "happens next".

If you've ever heard about a movie sequel coming out and said "Now why are they making a sequel to that?", that's a movie that has an ending so good that even the idea of a "further adventures" is not needed.

Ernest Bywater

@Perv Otaku

there is only partial validity in the notion of a story not being over until the character is dead.


That's true, because there are a number of good stories where it continues after the main character is dead, it simply switches to another character or characters - the film Cowboys where the big star (John Wayne) is killed early in it is a classic of this situation.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

That movie can't have been set in Texas, because then the only star would have been John Wayne because Texas is the lone star state.

graybyrd

@Wheezer

Boy, howdy, do I agree with that statement! I reached the point where if I encountered another "to the least" or "in the least" in a phrase, I was going to make it a personal mission to run the author to ground and plunge a pencil through his heart!

Wolves & Dragons....another series that I really, really wanted to like, but was pulling my hair out and screaming at the inconsistencies, spelling & grammar mistakes, homophone hell, etc. by the middle of book four. In retrospect, I'm surprised I made it that far. The author's attitude had a lot to do with my dropping it.

Crumbly Writer

When I write a story, I usually have very definite endings in mind. However, that doesn't always remain consistent.

Of my stories, here how they worked out:
1) Catalyst - stayed as i planned, though I divided the original 3 stories into 6 to make them more manageable. Ends with the death of the main character.
2) Great Death - this one was intended as a single book. Once done, I really had nothing further to add, though I left it open ended so I could return to it eventually. However, after sitting on it, the events of the first book required a change in the characters, which drove the sequel. That book, presented a new challenge (how to handle multiple separate characters), etc.
3) Stranded/Stranded in a Foreign Land - Again, intended as a single story with one story to tell. I ended it just shy of the characters' deaths -- a few won't return for another 50 to 75 years, the others decline to accompany them. However, after the 2nd government shutdown, I figured out how to continue by focusing on what happens if humanity doesn't make the necessary changes.
4) A House in Disarray (not yet published/posted) - Originally intended as a twofer (the original and then a prequel detailing the detective's teenage years), but the editors ended up cutting the sections foreshadowing the prequel, which was subsequently canned.
5) Singularity - Ends with the death of the main character. Little hope of a sequel.

In short, the death of a character is the only way to effectively end a story, though it's not always ironclad. But, if you leave a story open, not only will readers demand more, but often you'll see new stories in an older series.

Dicrostonyx

@Crumbly Writer

It turns out that you can use 20% of anything within copyright, as long as you properly attribute it


I checked a couple of legal articles (https://graphicartistsguild.org/tools_resources/trademark-copyright-and-related-legalities and http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/four-factors/) and it appears that the 20% rule is a myth.

When copying material for a work, what matters is both the quantity and substantiality of the copied potion. This is less true for parody: "the heart is also what most readily conjures up the [original] for parody, and it is the heart at which parody takes aim." (Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, 510 U.S. 569 (1994).)

The one place where I was able to find reference to a 20% rule is in the Access Copyright exceptions to Canadian copyright law (https://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/sites/default/files/copyright/Copyright%20FAQ.pdf).

Access Copyright refers to the ability of persons associated with a University to copy portions of any published literary, dramatic, or artistic, but not musical or digital, work without permission for the purposes of teaching. It only applies to certain employees and adjuncts to a university, not to students, unless the student is a TA or fellow.

The 20% rule comes into play in two places. While some short works like articles and poems can be copied in their entirety, with books you can copy a full chapter as long as it doesn't constitute more than 20% of the full book. Most other works are limited to 10%, but if the work is part of an official course pack you can use up to 20%.

So basically, you should probably forget about the 20% rule. The only way it might affect anything is that since it is a common misconception you might be able to use ignorance of the law as a defence. Of course, IANAL, nor am I in the US, so you might well have access to newer information than I do for your own copyright.

Switch Blayde

@Dicrostonyx

It turns out that you can use 20% of anything within copyright, as long as you properly attribute it


From https://janefriedman.com/the-fair-use-doctrine/

"if you copy ten or fewer words from another book you may likely be able to defend yourself under the doctrine that titles and short phrases are not subject to copyright protection. If you use more than 10 or 15 words, then you should ask those 7 questions above to determine how and if you might be able to invoke fair use as a defense if you get sued for copyright infringement."

Dominions Son

@Dicrostonyx

The 20% rule comes into play in two places.


If you get hauled into a US court over copyright issues the 20% rule is irrelevant. There are no hard and fast rules under US law about how much of a work can be used under fair use. The courts will consider how much of the work was used, how it was used, the purpose of the use and the nature of the work itself. Use of complete images (paintings/photographs) have been deemed fair use where the purpose of the use was commentary on the work itself and in one case (a photo of a sports team owner) commentary on the subject of the work.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Pars001

Ok, a word from the idiot author, I am writing 6 stories at once, I haven't seen an end to any of them. Ususally when I write I see the beginning and an end I haven't seen one for any of the six. though tonight while completeing a total chapter, I did start to feel an ending to the Blems.

Anyway just a few words from the idiot author, though there a few that won't agree I know that there are more than a few of my fellow authors out there that think I am wasting my time writing like this, NO I have to get them out of my head or suffer from headaches. (told you I am odd) anyway just a few words .

Ernest Bywater

@Pars001

NO I have to get them out of my head or suffer from headaches. (told you I am odd) anyway just a few words


Sometimes you only have the start of a story or a few scenes, but the rest will come with time when you think about the story, often while putting it down. So don't get over worried about it.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

If you get hauled into a US court over copyright issues the 20% rule is irrelevant. There are no hard and fast rules under US law about how much of a work can be used under fair use. The courts will consider how much of the work was used, how it was used, the purpose of the use and the nature of the work itself

Part of that determination is your attribution. If you clearly attribute the work to a known author, and identify the work and date, then you're clearly not 'stealing' someone else's work. You're instead admitting it isn't work, and providing links for others to look up the original. I suspect that's where the 20% rule came from. Rather than being written into law, (I suspect) lawyers have discovered that's the 'acceptable' amount juries/judges will allow when they're properly referenced (however, I've got no sources to back up this claim).

The main point, though, isn't to plagiarize, but to credit fragments you reference. If you borrow from Disney, you'll be sued even if it's a tiny fragment, as they're incredibly litigious. However, if you credit a lesser known poet, they're more likely to appreciate your highlighting their work and promoting their own sales.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Rather than being written into law, (I suspect) lawyers have discovered that's the 'acceptable' amount juries/judges will allow when they're properly referenced (however, I've got no sources to back up this claim).


You've got no sources to back up that claim because it isn't true.

Uses of fractions of a percent of very large works has been ruled infringing in some circumstances while in others, mostly with images, use of an entire work, even without attribution, has been ruled fair use.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Pars001

Ok, a word from the idiot author, I am writing 6 stories at once, I haven't seen an end to any of them. Ususally when I write I see the beginning and an end I haven't seen one for any of the six. though tonight while completeing a total chapter, I did start to feel an ending to the Blems.

That's why I don't dive directly into a story. I'll come up with a premise and a plot, then put it aside, allowing the ideas to percolate in my brain over time. Eventually, as the ideas ferment, I'll get a better feel for what to do with the plot. What your describing is more the result of incomplete development. If you don't know where the story ends, you have no clue how to move the story in that direction. In short, if you don't know how the story develops, you'll never know what 'belongs in the story', and what's extraneous. That's why I won't write anything until I have both a beginning, and ending, and some idea on how to develop the story and what I'm trying to say (my 'theme').

That's not to say that my ending is complete. When I wrote "The Catalyst", I knew from the beginning that the main character dies in the end, and what the repercussions of that ending were, but I never knew precisely how he dies. It wasn't until I was starting the final of the six book series that I formulated how he bits it int he end. But I kept revising the epilogue as a way of refining and focusing the story. By knowing how the story ends--even if I don't know the precise details--I understand how to focus the story.

You want to write towards the ending, directing the entire story towards the finished product, rather than seeing 'where the story takes you'. The former produces a consistent progression, while the latter leaves you fumbling for direction.

Note: This is my method of writing stories, but there are plenty of others here who don't follow my methodology. There are several other methods which work. But since you're admitting you've yet to finish a story, it seems clear you're looking for some direction.

For my stories, I invest about 15% of my time in actual writing, about 20% thinking about the story, about 15% formatting and designing covers, etc., and the rest (50%) revising and self-editing.

Replies:   Pars001
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Uses of fractions of a percent of very large works has been ruled infringing in some circumstances while in others, mostly with images, use of an entire work, even without attribution, has been ruled fair use.

By your own admission, it isn't about how much is used, but the context of it's use. My point was the attribution, not the percentages. More than anything else, you need a defense for your inclusion of the material. If your copy someone else's work, any amount will get you in trouble. However, if you properly attribute your use, and have clear limits on how you're applying them, you better able to defend yourself, rather than simply relying on the courts to decide whether you're guilty or not.

However, in the end, it's a crap shoot, either way. An individual judge will counter what every other judge rules, there's really little rhyme or reason to copyright law. That's why you've got to pick your usage carefully. Avoid Disney, or movies in general, entirely, since they'll sue over any use, and always leave the reader wanting more (so you redirect those interested to the source material). Other than that, there are no hard and fast rules.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

However, if you properly attribute your use, and have clear limits on how you're applying them


Attribution might make the academics happy and many copyright owners might be less likely sue if you include attribution. However, attribution will not help your defense in court if you are sued.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

However, attribution will not help your defense in court if you are sued.

No, there is no universal protection against copyright claims, even when they're entirely bogus. However, when a jury or judge considers the preponderance of evidence, it'll weigh in your favor (i.e. you're not claiming someone else's work, you're simply highlighting their efforts).

I think you're putting entirely too much effort an absolute copyright protection. People have used quotes in stories for centuries, but you'd have us believe that there's absolutely no legal basis for doing so. I, on the other hand, believe the courts are able to differentiate between fair use and outright copyright abuse. I see the glass as half full, you see it as completely broken and will never use it.

If you don't abuse the system, I think you can get away with some clever use of quotes. They have a long and storied use in literary history, so saying their not legitimate or legal is patently ridiculous.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I think you're putting entirely too much effort an absolute copyright protection. People have used quotes in stories for centuries, but you'd have us believe that there's absolutely no legal basis for doing so.


You mistake my position completely. My position is not that there is not legal basis for using quotes. My position is that when a court makes a legal determination on fair use (Fair use is a legal issue that will always be decided by the judge not a factual issue for the jury) attribution will get almost no consideration.

I, on the other hand, believe the courts are able to differentiate between fair use and outright copyright abuse.


I completely agree. The only disagreement is over how much of a role attribution plays in that decision. (hint: it isn't much)

I see the glass as half full, you see it as completely broken and will never use it.


No, I see the glass as always full. A typical drinking glass won't hold a vacuum. :)

Pars001

@Crumbly Writer

You don't understand when I start I know what belongs in the story I see the story the only thing I don't see is the ending (not often ). I am a strange writer I write it, then I have to read it as it flows out I put it down then. I am a writer when I write I tune EVERYTHING out I can (helps when you can meditate) I mean everything, I write then if I stop I have to go back and read what I wrote this in turn gives me even more avenues to go down, as I said I am a oddity.

Crumbly Writer

@Perv Otaku

Sorry, but I returned here after being away to see whether I missed anything, and noticed the following:

If you've ever heard about a movie sequel coming out and said "Now why are they making a sequel to that?", that's a movie that has an ending so good that even the idea of a "further adventures" is not needed.

That's why, before I'll even consider a sequel, I need to identify a new conflict/theme and message, to justify a new story. If I can't figure out a new direction to take the story in, I'll drop it as uninteresting.

That's also how I decide when to break a single book into multiples. If there's a different conflict and the book conveys a different message than the rest of the book, then it's time to split it into separate books.

Fia1

There are obviously stories written on SoL that have more than one author contributing to bring about a great story.

However there are a lot of inactive and incomplete stories that were started great but never continued.

What I would like to know is if there are other authors who would ( with permission of course) take up the mantel and try to finish these great stories?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Fia1


There are obviously stories written on SoL that have more than one author contributing to bring about a great story.


The vast majority of stories, on SOL and otherwise, have plenty of contributors, from editors to beta-readers and commenters, as well as other authors making suggestions, but for the most part, there's one particular individual in charge, calling the shots.

However there are a lot of inactive and incomplete stories that were started great but never continued.


This has been discussed quite a bit, but I'll reiterate: often, it's not just that someone got busy or gave up. Many authors unintentionally write themselves into a corner, and simply don't know how to extricate themselves from a problematic story. Other authors die before they can finish, or in at least one case, are forbidden from accessing computers as the result of unfair prosecution. It's not always a case of someone simply not finishing a story. How a story ends, or doesn't, is probably much more complicated than the stories themselves.

What I would like to know is if there are other authors who would ( with permission of course) take up the mantel and try to finish these great stories?


Again, this gets complicated. First off, the original author has to be accessible to give their legal authorization. Secondly, the story has to be one the author feels a drive to write, and believe they have the expertise to express something by addressing it. Finally, the drive to finish someone else's story has to be more compelling than creating one of their own, which doesn't have all the complications inherent in adapting another's.

The complications can get involved: from tense, perspective, framework, intent, direction to style differences. In order to finish someone else's work, you've got to put your own tastes on hold, and adapt someone else's voice.

An easier approach, is to create a brand new story 'inspired by' the works of someone else. This approach doesn't have nearly as many complications. Hell, many authors on SOL got their start trying to write better resolutions of CMSix's stories!

That's not to say that no one will be interested, only that it's a complicated process, and each author has to evaluate the issues before deciding to tackle it. For most, it's easier writing their own stories, even if they're almost identical.

Edit: Of course, for all those who've made those evaluations, and then decided not to pursue it, readers never hear of the struggles or the numbers of authors interested.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

An easier approach, is to create a brand new story 'inspired by' the works of someone else. This approach doesn't have nearly as many complications.

Surely this is the case with just about every story. How many authors have read the original story of someone dying and waking in someone else's body and then written their own story starting with that premise.
It's the same with fraud in real life- there are 29 types of fraud and everything else is a variant of those

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

It's the same with fraud in real life- there are 29 types of fraud and everything else is a variant of those

Isn't fraud, fraud? Sure, there are variants (ex. stock vs. bond), but it's still the same crime.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer


It's the same with fraud in real life- there are 29 types of fraud and everything else is a variant of those
Isn't fraud, fraud? Sure, there are variants (ex. stock vs. bond), but it's still the same crime

It is a class of crime of which there are (said to be) 29 different types. They are handled differently in the courts just as the various "crimes" on the road (speeding, DUI, faulty brakes etc.) are another class of crime with variants.
For example the P.L.O. (nothing to do with the Palestine Liberation Organisation but their name was used) fraud out of Chicago was a variant of the Nigerian 419 fraud also known as "advance fee fraud". Those are totally different to embezzlement and using confidential information (as for example stock market transactions) or selling coloured glass as emeralds.

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