I like evil epilogues. Or “stingers” as I’ve heard them called. I wish more novels would use them; the only evil epilogue I can remember reading is at the end of The Stand by Stephen King.
They pop up in films and video games way more frequently: usually after the credits. It can be as simple as Skeletor’s head bursting out of the water stating “I’ll be back!” Or, in the case of the film The Wolverine, it can be a scene so powerful that it can overshadow the entire story that came before it.
Some people might argue that having a new threat emerge right at the end is in bad taste. I mean the heroes fought hard! Why ruin it? But I believe an evil epilogue compliments the “roller coaster” feeling of being rushed between high and low emotional states. The ending is usually the biggest “high” of the story so the epilogue is the perfect place for one last dive.
But I don’t want to do it just to gut-punch the reader; I want to present relevant story material as well. In the previous book I used the epilogue to set up the sequel by having the villain Pinada appear. It also served to settle the loose end of what happened to Mackaba after the crash. I don’t like to shock people for no reason. Every shock MUST have a purpose.
I hope you enjoy this final scene. Shoot–this is it, isn’t it? Draft two is over.
I’m not sure what I should do next. Should I start the final draft? Should I just go ahead and begin the third story? Let’s have a vote! Sound off in the comments, my thousands of fans! And if I get no votes I’ll just assume you want me to prioritize my completion of all the Disgaea games and Skyrim instead! Continue reading →
I just realized something: This might be a good time to talk about story endings! Or rather, MY story endings! Sorry, Animal Farm.
But George Orwell knows I’ve been disappointed by endings before. I wanted to make an ending that’s engaging. But how? I was concerned about this when I wrote the ending for the first book. I mean, the climax is done; the best part is over, right? What’s left to do? Have everyone talk about what they’ve learned? End with a line of pure and utter wisdom?
Yeah, some of that happened. But that doesn’t mean I have to leave all the conflict out. Why not make the aftermath a struggle? So that’s what I did: I had Mean and Dark struggle with the idea of his hidden identity. It was intense; I think they even spilled a soda.
I thought the scene worked so well I actually planned for it this time. Amazing stuff, this “experience.” Now THIS ending has struggles everywhere: King blames Mean for what happened to Parlay; Tome is suspicious about Dark; Darrow has a bit of a rivalry with Tenny.
But every conflict is quickly resolved or smoothed over with humor. I can’t leave the reader with an ominous feeling.
My web hosting service has been blocking my access! To my own site! Can you believe that? I paid five bucks for this; how dare they! Oh! And then–! I was trying to post this last night and I got an error. Guess what? They MOVED my site. Because of them I wasn’t able to post! I was forced to spend my time playing video games instead. But fear not! My genius friend Matt fixed the problem. The games he plays are boring; it was easier for him to find time for it. (Something about farming in space. Who knows.)
Now I’m back. I can’t stop now–not after I’ve come so far. This draft must end! Convoluted explanations must be simplified! Aftermaths must be realized! Romantic scenes must not sound as if they belong in Twilight! Onward!Continue reading →
I thought I’d try something new and put the second draft up before the first one. This is the finale, after all! Why should you have to read the crappy version first? And believe me; the first draft of this chapter is bad. I’ll still put it up, but I didn’t want to diminish your enjoyment as you move from the previous section’s cliff-hanger to this THRILLING CONCLUSION!
In the previous chapters I said that I wanted to change some of Pinada’s dialogue around. I cut out anything that was a petty insult, opting for lines that were more witty or sarcastic. That doesn’t mean that Pinada isn’t capable of stooping that low; it’s just that the time for such stooping hadn’t come yet.
But now it’s time. His case has been shattered. His face has been punched. Things have happened that he didn’t foresee. He’s still dominating this struggle, of course, but that momentary loss of control isn’t something he’s used to.
And it’s always so satisfying to see the smug, arrogant villain removed from his comfort zone–even for a moment. Continue reading →
Look, I’ve been loving this Lady Knight book over at Mark Reads. But I had a bit of a disappointing experience last week: I got to the last chapter and there WASN’T a climactic battle with the main villain. Can you believe that? Sure, there was a thrilling castle infiltration scene and an excellent fight with the warrior bodyguard–but when it came time to finish the head honcho himself? Done in two pages with little effort!
I’m not upset though; this is one of the reasons I wanted to write stories of my own. I realize that authors won’t always do what I want them to do. They’ll spend hundreds of pages hyping up a character. Then when he finally appears they’ll have him say a handful of lines before getting cut down in one stroke. I’ve come to accept it. They do things their way; I do things my way.
And what is my way? An epic struggle against the antagonist for seven straight chapters! YEAH–HA HA!
And if you don’t like it you can write your OWN story where the bad guy makes himself invisible and stands on a table. 😉 Continue reading →
Only a few minor descriptions were improved in this chapter. Not really worth discussing. So shoot–I guess I’d better talk about the hit manga One Piece, and how it relates to this chapter!
Actually, every Japanese action comic seems to do what this chapter does: They like to remind you that the villain is evil. Here’s what they do: Is the final showdown coming up? Is the hero/heroine on their way there? Well we can’t have that happen without first making sure that all the tragedy has sunk in!
I don’t mind if a story does that–as long as they keep it short. That’s why this chapter is one page; I don’t want to dwell on flashbacks when there’s an ending to get to.
At the same time, this segment is absolutely essential: Not only am I describing a pivotal moment in Parlay’s life, but I’m using the event to link the two books. I’m making it clear that Pinada’s actions influenced Parlay. And she/he goes on to become the “villain” of the first story, continuing the tragic cycle. Now the reader can go to the final confrontation, confident that Pinada needs to be beaten for his heinous acts. (This was also a major theme in the chapter where he killed everyone.)
One more thing: I saw my old pal Jimmy at church today! I told him about these books and this site. Hey Jimmy! If you’re reading this you might want to watch out for spoilers! There are some around here somewhere. Continue reading →
Well, this chapter took a while. Was it tough? A little. This side-story with Mackaba needs to be handled carefully; if it doesn’t seem important enough the reader could lose interest in the finale.
But I gotta be honest: my immense resolve to write was tested. See, I got invited to the Hearthstone beta, and I might have spent a few nights playing cards when I should have been describing wind-swept landscapes and coming up with sarcastic things for government officials to say.
And then my friend Matt got into the game too! What am I to do!? Leave him to discover the deep mechanics of the cards by himself!? The Knife Juggler gnome card has complex strategies that must be explored!
I helped him out, and I’m lucky that he goes to sleep a few hours before I do–leaving me time to write without any excuses. Yep. Sometimes your willpower is only as strong as your friends’. Or at least it’s as strong as the wife that makes him turn off the game and go to bed. Continue reading →
This chapter is filled with hateful dialog, uttered by the antagonist, Pinada. I believe writing such things is helpful to me, though. Yeah, you heard right. See, I get angry at people sometimes. People that have done horrible things. Or maybe they haven’t done anything much at all.
But every time I want to lash out at those people I reign it back. I think: “save it for the books.”
It’s another way for my writing to serve me: I’m able to channel my anger in a positive way, and I’m also able to make a believable villain. I can also observe how evil people are treated through the actions of my characters. It can serve as a reminder to what happens to people that decide to act out on their rage. If I’m in the real world and I ever feel that I’m starting to act like one of these villains, well, I know I need to shut up and walk away or else I’ll get a table dropped on my head. Continue reading →
DVD commentaries can be great for learning story-telling techniques. For instance, the other day I was watching the episode of Aeon Flux titled “The Purge.” On the commentary, Peter Chung was talking about how the character Trevor needed to have an incredibly philosophical conversation about the nature of conscience.
Mr. Chung realized that an abstract conversation would feel out of place if it just happened at a normal locale. So what did he do? He decided to have the entire scene play out on a stage with a studio audience!
Shoot–look at that! Now it makes perfect sense for Trevor to make numerous, long-winded remarks: he’s on TV! Even Aeon’s scant attire becomes appropriate!
Like Chung, I have used a similar method in this chapter–heck, I’ve used it in the whole book up until now. When Pinada talks about his plan and what he’s accomplished he does it in front of an audience. It seems natural to the reader that Pinada would speak as long as he had the crowd’s attention.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a cactus-flavored bunny drink and start reading! Everything that happens here is perfectly normal!