Endings

Analysis

Star Trek Series Finales From Worst to Best

The Enterprise viewscreen showing two other Enterprises.

Endings are hard, especially endings for a long-running series. A lot of expectations get built up along the way, and how well you meet those expectations will determine whether audiences remember your story fondly or are just glad it’s over. Classic Star Trek varies wildly … read more »

Analysis

The Good and Bad Climaxes From Marvel’s Phase Two

A helicarrier rising up next to a flying city.

I won’t sugarcoat it: going through the MCU’s phase-one climaxes was a real slog. The action and quips might be top notch, but the climaxes are limited to nonsense deductions and meaningless sacrifices. Fortunately, there are way more of these movies to look at. Specifically, … read more »

Analysis

Five Stories With Anticlimactic Endings

Kvothe looking at a city far off in the distance.

The meaning of “anticlimactic” is refreshingly simple: the climax is a disappointment. We might call a story anticlimactic if the main villain is defeated too easily, if a major story arc just disappears without explanation, or if the throughline isn’t properly resolved. The story’s climax … read more »

Q&A

How Can Fantasy Stories End Without a Big Battle?

questions and answer talk bubbles

I’m pre-writing a long fantasy series and the final “act” always seems to be a build up to one great big battle scene. Are there any other options for sci-fi/fantasy writers’ third act instead of a great big world-ending battle? That would be a great … read more »

Q&A

How Predictable Should a Story Be?

questions and answer talk bubbles

Should a story, by and large, be predictable? Like should the audience more or less know what direction the story is going in, or should the story be more plot twisty and unpredictable? -Tucker Read more »

Analysis

Six Stories With Failed Turning Points

Spider-Man trying to hold a bisected boat together.

Turning points are critical to a good story. What’s a turning point, you ask? It’s the moment in a story’s climax when the situation changes, when the hero goes from losing to winning, or winning to losing if this is a story that ends poorly. … read more »

Storytelling

Seven Signs a Sequel Will Be Bad

When you finish a good story, your first instinct is probably to check if there’s a sequel. But then you hesitate. How can you be sure the sequel is going to be good? We’ve all seen more than our fair share of promising stories crash … read more »

Storytelling

Understanding Character Karma

Lady Justice sits with her sword, holding up her scales

Character karma is a useful concept that helps us understand how to craft stories that are engaging and satisfying. While I’ve mentioned the concept in many other places, it’s overdue for a full article on the ways it affects our stories. First, what is character … read more »

Storytelling

Six Types of Turning Points for Climaxes

Katniss and Peta contemplate eating poisonous berries

Most storytellers know that the climax should be more exciting than the rest of the story. However, many don’t know that climaxes need a critical turning point. Neglecting this turning point is one of the most common mistakes that writers make, and without it, endings … read more »

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