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 The End and How to Get There

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Paramount Pagemaster
Paramount Pagemaster

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Join date : 2013-07-11
Age : 28
Location : Plains of Winter

PostSubject: The End and How to Get There   Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:15 am

~The End~

Imagine if you were to pick up a book and begin to read. The story is highly engaging, and the characters have a lot of depth and interesting development. After no time at all, you're hooked. You just can't set the book now and have to see what happens next. Then you flip the next page and –

It stops. Wait, what? They can’t feed you such an entertaining story and then just drop it! There’s no resolution, and without resolution, no satisfaction. Who cares if the story was great up until that point? If you can’t wrap it up perfectly, everything before it becomes meaningless.

That is why first and foremost, you have to know how the story will resolve. You may have the greatest concept for a story and the most memorable characters, but you ruin the ending and your rp (or story) will go over like a lead balloon. So, the all important question then - how do I avoid this? Let's see if we can't tackle the problem.

What's in an Ending?

When ending your rp or story, it's important to understand what exactly an ending is and what it needs to contain. To put it simply, the ending is the summation of all that has come before it. All the battles, all the losses, all the shattered dreams and resolutions forged in fire come to a head at this point. In some cases, it can be an obvious evil that the heroes have struggled with from the beginning. Or perhaps, in a magnificent twist, it can be something that they have unknowingly contributed toward by their actions and must now face and rectify before peace can be regained. In any case, this is the place where the stakes must be raised to their highest.

Now, what does this ending need to contain? In the course of the plot, the protagonists should have undergone growth and difficult experiences to develop their character. The ending is the chance to show just how much they've changed through their experiences and just how far they've come in their journey. The characters are the way in which the reader connects to the story, and it is essential to feel that these people have overcome their weaknesses and resolved their conflicts.

But above all, the ending of the story must bring about a sense of completion. For any story, there must be a dynamic of change. Change in the government of an empire, change in the lives of a group of friends, or even just the change in the mindset of a single person. It's important to acknowledge this change by comparing it to the way in which the story began, bringing a sense of coming full circle and a return to the norm. The best endings are ones that truly capture the essence of the story, whether that is the importance of friendship or the necessity of holding to one's ideals.

Reaching the End

Beloved author JK Rowling wrote the ending to the Harry Potter series before the first book was published. This way she made sure that all the events that happened for the books in between built up to a dramatic and satisfying ending. When planning a story, it is essential to lock in your ending right after creating the initial concept. This ensures that the ending is effective in concluding the overall storyline presented and matches earlier events in the plot. In this way, every major event can move toward that overall goal.

An rp built solely on concept has a greatly diminshed chance of success. While "feeling out" the end to an rp leaves a lot of room for freedom, it is very difficult to tell when the time is "right" to try ending things. And if you feel your audience is slipping and try to rush things to the end, you may miss out on concluding minor plotlines or even connecting the dots sufficiently in your main storyline to allow readers or rp participants to understand how they got from where they were to where they are now.

Some short tips to follow when planning the story of your rp are as follows.

1. Endings first

It may seem strange to start with the end, but knowing the destination makes planning the journey much easier. Once you have a sufficiently workable concept, the next thing you should do is plan out your ending, even if it's only a rough idea.

2. Sit on it

I know from experience that planning rps far in advance and sitting on your ideas, particularly your endings, is crucial to success. This is because you are going to change your mind in the process of planning and working out all the details. What seems good one day might not be that good the next. Or you may come up with a new concept that shifts direction from your original intention. Perhaps a better idea comes along that rewrites a good portion of the story - and thus the ending - altogether. So plan in advance and don't just throw up rps right after thinking up an idea. If your storyline stands the test of time, it's worth using.

3. Outline

If you've taken the time to work through and ensure you have a solid ending to work with, the best way to ensure you reach it is to make an outline of the overall story to reach that point. It's not necessary to know every movement every character will take, but the key moments in the rp should be hashed out just as much as the ending. In this way, you can ensure that aside from providing entertainment, they progress the story toward that carefully crafted ending and enables you to perfect that wonderful tool known as foreshadowing. There's few story elements as satisying as being able to successfully pull off foreshadowing in your story and then refer back to it at a later point, causing your readers to gasp and wonder how they could have ever failed to connect the dots. You're also far less likely to fumble around with posts and wonder where to go next if you have an outline to draw on. Just as importantly, perhaps, your rp participants are encouraged to post if they think you have a solid plan of action. If you don't seem like you know what you're doing, your participants will wander off. Strong leadership is essential to finishing up your rp.

4. Get feedback

Just because your ending may seem fantastic to you, it doesn't mean everyone else will see it that way. Even if you don't need help with running your rp, it's good to have someone as an assistant GM or proof-reader to bounce ideas off of. Their reaction to your ending will be a good indication of whether or not others will find it satisfying. Accompanying this with your outline so they can also see how you reach this ending greatly enhances their ability to critique your work as well.

I hope this guide will be useful to all you aspiring GMs hoping to make sure your rps go all the way! I'd appreciate any feedback you guys have, and if you have any questions for me to answer, send me a PM. Thanks for reading!

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