Monday, February 21, 2011

Tying Up Loose Ends

Have you ever read a book or watched a movie that left you completely unsettled? Left you with more questions than answers? Well I don't know about you, but I hate that feeling.

Detest it actually.

Over the weekend I watched a movie that did just that. For starters it was a scary movie that had me jumping out of my skin and hiding behind my throw pillow. Not my idea of a good time. When the credits finally rolled I found myself sitting there thinking...what the heck just happened?

I still am.

Aside from the eye-covering and screaming I was paying close attention and wanted to know the end result. This got me thinking about my writing. Of course. I am on the brink of finishing my first draft on my current WIP and I know without a doubt that there are loose ends flapping about. Among other things. I think every writer wants their readers thinking about their work long after they have put the book down. But not because they couldn't figure out the resolution or were confused by the plot-lines.

This epiphany could not have come at a better time. I'm now more aware of the work that needs to be done in order to complete this ms. Like I didn't know that already. But now I'm going into my second draft with an obstinate determination to make my plot lines crystal clear and all loose ends tied up firmly in a neat little bow.

How will I achieve this goal you ask? Lucky for me I get a little OCD when I write. This time around however I was determined to silence my inner editor. So when I came across any sort of issue that needed to be ironed out, I made a note in a separate document that I'll refer to as I work through the second draft. The process will no doubt be daunting, but the end result will hopefully be well worth the effort.

So do you feel about loose ends? Do you like to finish a movie or book and be left questioning it? Or do you prefer to have all the answers? I hope everyone had a great weekend. Last week was brutal, but its over now and I'm so excited to be back into my normal routine. I have missed visiting all of your blogs!


salarsenッ said...

Loose ends. Major threads drive me batty, but those that are thinner, those that leave the possibility for a new plotline...I'm okay with those.

Becky Taylor said...

I hear you, but sometimes they are done very well. For instance, I loved the end of "Inception." That top spun just a little too long and then right before the credits roll, is that a slight wobble?

Great movie.

Anonymous said...

The major threads, yes, I would prefer if they are complete tied up and the questions answers. However, I don't mind if some minor things are left unanswered just because it gives it a realistic feel. Not all of life's questions can be answered. :)
Great post!

Talei said...

Oh I'm with you. Some books are left unfinished (unread) and movies, well it depends... Sometimes I try and sit them out but others, I just, like, flick over to something else.

I watched 127 hrs recently and found that really frustrating, waiting for the gory part, knowing it was coming -but also the whole idea that this guy was in a crazy predicament because of his own vanity (IMO). Phew! - see I obviously needed to get that off my chest. Ha.

Happy writing this week!

Jen Daiker said...

Detest - great word. I detest them as well. It just isn't fair to left thinking that long!

That being said you have me wondering what movie it is, lol. I'd hate to fall victim to a horror flick that's going to disappoint me in the end.

LTM said...

love when I get an epiphany watching films... or anywhere, for that matter! :D I don't know. Sometimes it's OK not to have all the answers.

What were you watching? Inception? ;p

Chris Phillips said...

I've always wondered if there were directors out there who did it on purpose and then went home and laughed themselves to sleep. I would love to make a movie like that, where at the very end of a horror movie a bunch of people jump up, yell surprise, and have a birthday party.

Lindsay said...

I don't like really major loose ends. I don't mind the little threads being left open if I know there will be a sequel, but total loose ends drive me nuts.

I'm so curious about which movie it is now. :)

Sondrae Bennett said...

I hate when a movie ends with loose ends but I absolutely detest when a book ends with loose ends. Unfortunately I've found quite a few lately that end...or rather don't. I want my stories to have a beginning, middle, and an ending.

Lisa said...

I don't mind loose ends, but only when they're left for a reason. Like, you're not supposed to have the answer, but you're supposed to think about it.

But yes, otherwise it annoys me so much! It just feels lazy to me! If you weren't gonna tie up that loose end, why did you mention it? Maybe that makes it the kind of thing that can be cut?

I'm thinking about those in my current WIP. I mentioned that my MC can speak Spanish, but there's no real reason for this except to show she's smarter than she thinks. I'm considering cutting it or else tying it into some more elements of the story to make it have more purpose.

Colene Murphy said...

That is so awesome that it came at a great time and now you have a plan of attack! BUT what movie was it? I'm so curious! I do hate loose ends. Makes me feel like I just wasted all that time on something that was never resolved in any way. Heck, I would take everyone dying in a story as opposed to it just...hanging there.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Oh I am sooo with you on that! I sometimes write very complicated plots too, so I would absolutely hate it if I left something unanswered.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad you survived your week. I can totally relate.

I don't mind cliffhangers but I do like to understand the basic plot/threads and not be left completely wondering. Good luck with your writing.

Elana Johnson said...

I don't mind ending something not really at the end, if it feels organic. If it feels like the movie/book was cut off in the middle to leave room for a sequel, that annoys me.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm with Elana. Organic--great. Cliffhanger ending--not great. Though that seems to be the standard in YA dystopian. :P

My current wip is facing that issue. I have an epilogue written, but the book's really begging for a sequel because a two page epilogue that's mostly telling just isn't statisfying. I guess I'll have to wait to see what my beta readers think.

Anne said...

Congrats on finishing the first draft! It's impossible for me to shut off my inner editor while writing but I still find loose ends to tie up regardless. Best of luck.