Endings

Analysis

Five Stories With Unsatisfying Endings

Aang in the Avatar State from The Last Air Bender.

While satisfaction should be present throughout a story, the most potent dose of satisfaction is delivered by the ending. Or at least, it should be. When an ending fails to live up to expectations, it reduces satisfaction as well as the chances that audiences will read … read more »

Podcast

307 – Constructing a Tragedy

The Mythcreant Podcast

In storytelling, happy endings are the default for good reason. But there is another option. Sometimes the story doesn’t end well; nothing goes the hero’s way, and they either die or lose what is most precious to them. That’s right, this episode is about tragedies: … read more »

Podcast

300 – Crafting Satisfying Resolutions

The Mythcreant Podcast

First there’s a problem, then there’s a turning point, and then… darn it, what comes after the turning point? If everything’s working properly, that’s when it’s time for the resolution, but this is trickier than some writers think. You have to show things resolving, not … read more »

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 »

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