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plot Lots of "beginning", lots of "middle" ... no "end"

Seeing as there's been a bit of an influx of screen-writers lately, it feels like a good time to ask for help on this point: how do you figure out how (or when) to end your story? Alternatively: do you typically start with the end/twist and work backwards?

I'm more of a craftsman than an artist - give me some raw material and I can turn it into something beautiful (or at least functional) and what writing I've done to date has usually been dictated by a given project or theme. Several years ago, as part of a creative writing course, I encompassed the maxim to "write about what you know" and that's certainly helped me. I've also got used to combining ideas inspired by two or three different real-life people or experiences into one character or scenario.

But I still find it really hard to figure out where these stories should go, because the vast majority of the real life inspiration comes to a natural, undramatic end ... except the ones that continue to meander aimlessly into the future! 🤪 It probably doesn't help that I'm a natural problem solver, so all of the "stuff" that makes a traditional "second act" work is completely alien to me! In a way, I suppose this is a variation of @Panos 's problem re different voices - so my question would be: are there any equivalent techniques that I can use to get inside the problem-worsening head of my characters? :bag:
 
the vast majority of real life is undramatic......

I don't remember where I heard (or read) it, but "drama is real life with the boring parts omitted" (or something along those lines). And "write what you know" is more about knowing your subject matter as pertains to don't write a story about fishing if you don't know anything about fishing, for example.

One of my favorite films, "Stranger Than Fiction," is a great "what if" film. The Dustin Hoffman character quotes Italo Calvino, "The ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death." Tragedy, you die. Comedy, you get hitched.
 
The premise was that all cats CAN speak if they choose to
:hmm: That's not a premise ...




... that's a fact! :wait:


Thank you all for your varied perspectives on this. It's made me realise that my principal handicap lies here:
Look for situation where you can see the potential drama and conflict.
By my nature, reinforced by training and professional exercise, I can very easily see how an unexpected dramatic situation came to be, but instinctively de-escalate any that I'm involved in myself (well, except for one ... but that's a story that'd need at least seven features to tell 🤪 ) I can't watch "horror" movies because they're so riddled with irrational behaviours they drive me up the walls ... even some action movies annoy the hell out of me ("Hey bud, I'm out of ammo!" - well, you've just killed 17 of the Bad Guys ; should've grabbed their guns like I told you to :grumpy: )

So I find it impossibly difficult to get into the head of someone who would not do the rational - or at least reflex - thing for a given scenario, because I find it so hard to imagine a scenario that would provoke such a reaction.

Hmm ... contrary to my choice of title for the thread, it looks like it's the "middles" that are the real source of my troubles; if my characters had serious problems, I'd be able to sort them out and find a natural end.
 
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