One of my goals for the rest of this year is to work on endings. One of the nice and not so nice aspects of collaborative fiction is often a lacking of endings. I’ve nearly perfected the technique, made famous by M*A*S*H, of stretching a scenario out over multiple installments – much like the Korean War which last but three years in reality but spanned eleven years on television and 251 episodes. But even M*A*S*H had to end and its season finale was one of the most watched TV finales in history. Ah, if only I should be so lucky.
This year may be half way through, but that means it’s a perfect time to search for some endings to some of my tales and some of my characters. I had already made the decision to actually wrap up my modern fairy tale The Midnight People with the help of my fellow writers. It’s a fantasy tale of dark versus light with lots of grey areas in between and it just naturally begs to have a grand finale like when Aragorn claims his throne and saves Gondor with an army of ghosts against the Dark Lord Sauron. It’s good stuff and the meat of the fantasy genre. My story, however, has stalled and waits me to lead it to the crashing crescendo of gore, valor, and dénouement. What causes me to pause in this plunge to the end?
I often wonder if just the thought that the story is to end makes it seem less worth while? I’m not sure if my ambivalent feelings towards reaching the natural climax of a story is something that other writers experience. Is my reluctance to take up the reins of a story that I know will then be finished and done with akin to the feelings that the writers of M*A*S*H felt as they reached the end of their tenure: a mixture of relief to be done and sorrow to have no more to do?
Since I have had such trouble orchestrating the ending of my tale of Elves and Men I have decided to work on some lesser endings. In my modern zombie apocalypse collaborative novel FLESH I have taken several story threads as far as they can interestingly go and still be a zombie story. With all the zombies nearly gone it’s time to wrap it up. Again there is a bittersweet feeling about it as these include several of my favorite characters. But therein lies the rub: no character can go on forever. When it’s time to throw in the towel and call it a night, like poor old Clyde Alden in the 1987 film version of The Witches of Eastwick putting his wife Felicia to her eternal rest, you know it. There is a feeling of ennui around the character or a feeling that you’re forcing things, desperate to find yet one more scenario to throw them into.
Better to take that poker and end their existence with some pride still intact.
Ever since I can remember I have cared about wild animals and the environment. I didn’t get it from politics or ‘bleeding heart’ liberals. It was just fundamental to my nature. I don’t even remember politics discussed in the home or any form of activism being embraced. My home influences were always about art and literature more than politics and government. The themes that inspired my childish mind are still with me in much of my writing today. I was reminded of this when wandering through my list of blogs I follow this morning and I was presented with this video from YouTube at Historical Boys:
Even as a child I hated the killing of wild animals for no reason. I imagined a world where humans got in trouble from their wanton destructive ways and animals were relieved from the bondage, abuse, and killing. I would construct vast apocalyptic end of the world scenarios where only a few caring humans were allowed to survive but animals could finally live in the world in peace. Other imaginative games involved me taking on the persona of a wild animal and living in their world, far away from any human beings. I belonged to the WWF when I was in 6th grade.
Looking at the stories that I write today at the collaborative fiction site Pan Historia I realize that I haven’t changed all that much. It seems I still dream of the end of the world in my new collaborative novel The Bitter Sky or in my slightly more tongue in check zombie fiction FLESH. While The Bitter Sky is grim and dark, set in a very long nuclear winter, FLESH retains some of my childhood ire at humanity: none of the animals are affected by the zombie virus. My other story Turnskin, my werewolf horror collaboration, has a very strong environmental theme and streak that has been embraced by the other writers. I have been posting some of that story on my fiction blog if you are interested. In Turnskin there are good wolves and bad wolves, but all of them are united in their belief that humanity is destroying wildlife and its habitats. For a second there I thought I was done with my post-apocalyptic and environmental themes but then I remembered my other collaborative fiction, the modern fairy tale The Midnight People. In this concept I created a world in the future where the Fae have battled humanity to submission to take over because of our abuses of the environment.
It’s interesting how my childhood games have continued into adulthood via the media of the internet and online community. Thankfully I have an outlet for my creative visions, as well as a way to learn about, help out, and connect with other people when it comes to trying to make some real life changes for the better. To me I really feel that the protection of our environment and the other beings that share this planet with us should be paramount in our minds right now and should be outside of politics. It shouldn’t matter what you think about taxes, gun control, abortion, or how much government we have. Don’t burn down the house we all live in. It’s just simple common sense and survival. Otherwise dark visions like The Bitter Sky could well be a reality that would lose all the fun when translated into reality.
Burning up about the wolf slaughter? Head over here to help.