Having trouble writing an ending

Discussion in 'Game Ideas and Prototypes' started by Panda_Artist, Aug 31, 2019.

  1. Panda_Artist

    Panda_Artist Humble RPG Fan Veteran

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    Do you have any scriptwriting experience, because you sure seem to know your stuff I am most impressed. I have only had the chance to take one semester of scriptwriting so I am not so good at it. I'm learning alot.

    I do want the characters to be compelling, and I can see how difficult and challenging it can be!
     
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  2. Anyone

    Anyone Veteran Veteran

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    I'm a writer who's still polishing his debut novel (and writing a second one on the side, when I'm not getting sidetracked with new projects I set for myself), but I've spent years and years developing my own writing theories in an attempt to build a clearer understanding of how writing works, both that of published writers and my own. I've had a screenwriting course in university myself, which is where I picked up what the screenplay writer called "the ping pong theory" (the billard example), but writing is really an endless process of learning. You look at things and ask: why? Over time you pick things up, more becomes clearer, and you start to see principles at work behind everything.
    If you've got roughly 20~30 minutes time, watch
    (Why Jurassic Park looks better than its sequels, 8min) to get a feel for how important framing & direction is. It's a good example to get a feeling for how professionels think.
    Then go and watch the opening of Jurassic Park (2-3 min) on youtube.
    You can deconstruct the entire scene and understand it if you consider the three principles that basically govern all writing theory: focus, purpose and emotion.
    Focus is "What is the audience's gaze directed at? What is the focus of the scene?"
    Purpose is "Why is this important? How does seeing this change the perception of the audience?"
    Emotion is "What does this make the audience feel?"
    So you can ask questions like: Why, of all scenes that could be shown as first scene, did the director decide to go with this one? Why are they staring up into the trees. Why don't you see what's coming through the trees? Why aren't they talking friendly banter? etc. Each gives you more and more of an understanding of just how precise the scene was cut and how much intention is placed behind every shot.

    You can repeat the same with the opening of Star Wars (4, A New Hope, the original nr.1).
    Those two scenes are not just iconic, they're both good examples of how to start any kind of good story and they're really easy to decode because every shot, every action, every line of dialogue is very deliberate. Once you start seeing it, you'll be amazed at the understanding you'll gain on just those two scenes.

    It can be difficult and challening, but also enjoyable and rewarding. Every time you face a challenge as any kind of writer (screenplay writer, author, etc.) and overcome it, you'll learn. Maybe sometimes things seem daunting, but every time you overcome a challenge, you'll see so much clearer, so much farther. Don't let the difficulties stop you, instead let every moment of triumph you manage encourage you. Anything you get right, you cherish. To create, you need to think creatively, not critically - that's for revision when everything's mostly done.
     
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  3. Panda_Artist

    Panda_Artist Humble RPG Fan Veteran

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    Words to live by, thank you.


    I can give some insight on the other protags to see how they connect

    Protag 1 has already been established

    Protag 2 is a little special, as he has lived a relatively peaceful life far away from the war and suffering. He is the biological son of the family who adopted protag 1. He was originally going to have a baby brother but their parents had a miscarriage. Because of this when protag 1 came into his life he became attached and cherished him as if he was of his own blood. (They were 9 to 10 at this stage). Protag 2 serves as a foil to protag 1, but he is always protective of his adopted brother. The way I wrote the story was that protag 2, even though they grew up together, still cannot understand his brother's feelings and fears. Because he himself has never experienced them. Through the course of the game however, things will happen to protag 2 that will change him... He starts to understand protag 1 due to experiencing similar situations.

    In fact, as protag 1 faces his demons and develops as a character, we witness protag 2 undergoes a downfall. He starts to change for the worse, now understanding what made protag 1 suffer so much, he starts to hate the world that made his brother suffer and starts to agree with the ideas of the antagonist, eventually betraying the party later into the story. A bit of narative irony as for us to see our first protagonist become better we are also forced to witness the downfall of another.

    Protag 3 is one of the few remaining people that belong to the ancient race that inhabited the world many eons ago (because of this she is a novelty in this game's world as she can use natural magic drawn from the energy of the planet which is extremely powerful). She has been persecuted her whole life ( and only remembers that she did have a relative but does not even remember his name ) by the enemies and because of that she never had any true home. She has recieved military training and her motivation for doing what she does is to protect the planet (she is driven by what little she knows about her heritage and their attachment to the world they live in and constantly hopes that she will one day find a place she calls "home" and perhaps find her lost relative.

    Protag 4 is a combat android created by a scientist from the organisation the party works for. He starts to develop human emotions and begins to question his existance and the reason that he displays feelings and emotions despite not being human. At first he is driven only by the orders he follows of aiding the party and eliminating any threats.


    I don't mind talking about them hahaha
     
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  4. Anyone

    Anyone Veteran Veteran

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    That can be an interesting story arc, but it's gonna be a tough sell. You'll have to convince the audience that Protag 2 not was forced to change his perspective on some things but underwent a severe internal change. There's a vast gulf between a change in perspective and a change of the precepts you value in your life.
    Protag 1 -> underwent a traumatic experience that he combats with meds and tries to forget
    Protag 2 -> underwent a similar experience -> starts to pick up some of the ideology of the antagonist -> turns against his brother
    You need to cover why they reacted so differently, and you'll need a gradual curve in protag 2's development that explains why he not only started to be able to understand his brother better, why he not just picked up some of the antagonists ideas, but decided to radically switch sides and even abandon his former family and friends. That's a big leap. And not one that can ever be covered with a single event.

    The thing is, humans don't simply change their mind based on one thing. They need to consistently and persistently be confronted with a different reality so that their mindset adjusts and they, often through external and internal pressure, feel the need not just to shift their mindset but to change the way they interact with the world.

    Say your girlfriend/boyfriend gets raped. You don't go out the next day and kill all of humanity for it.
    But let's say that after it happens, the police ignores you & your partner and doesn't believe a thing you say. Relatives and family members blame her. Some of your partner's "friends" reveal that years ago, your partner was in a pornographic movie and consequently this must have had something to do with that and he/she's probably to blame for it all. You post the experience on social media and countless people just post "whine whine whine" underneath it. Wherever you go, whatever you do, no matter how hard you try to make people realize how much you and your partner are suffering, they don't care. Don't care that what they're doing to you hurts you. For them, it's just fun to stave away the boredom. But every joke at your expense, every prank they pull, every lie they spread to make you two look bad, they're all driving you into a corner. You're out of room. Your partner is growing suicidal. Your life is falling apart.
    And then you come home one day, see the open laptop, the mailbox filled with disgusting emails for your partner, photoshopped pictures, threats, accussations. More than anyone can bear.
    And you go into the bedroom and find your partner lying on the sheets, an empty bottle of meds in the hand, and a small, terse, tear-stained letter.
    And now you've got nothing left to hold you, no future to dream of, no hopes to hold out for. And a lot of people who deserve to feel the pain you're feeling.

    The shift from one thing to another is gradual, and it happens because the very foundations of one's believes are almost systematically eroded by internal and external forces, until there's no room for anything but a dramatic shift in one's mindset.

    Sounds interesting, but you'll have to find ways to show those things (living apart from others; undergoing persecution; no sense of belonging) in the game.
    You can have her talk about it, but it's not going to connect as well as scenes that actually show it happening.
    And you'll have to find a reason why she can't remember the name of a relative (which seems to be a big thing), how it came that she received military training (despite being persecuted, which suggests she has to hide) and how she believes that protecting the planet will bring her closer to having a home.

    I can see a few ways to make it work, but it needs to stay consistent. My suggestion: pick one of those elements and imagine a scene as you could show in the game. You can even write yourself a short screenplay like script of how it's supposed to go. This helps you visualize how the characters are set in scene.

    Protag 4 sounds like he's still quite a bit in the conceptual stage and you're not yet entirely sure how to flesh him out.
    You can use conflict to develop a clearer understanding of your characters:
    Ask your character, what does he want? And what's stopping him from achieving it? If you've got powerful motivation, your characters will, by themselves, find ways to press for a resolution that's resolve the conflict.

    I should also mention that this is all still relevant to your question: how to write that ending?
    Everything we've talked about plays into the character development of a character-focused story that ultimately will require a character-based resolution that satisfyingly concludes the conflicts of the protagonists. The emotional payoff your audience gets at the end depends on everything that preceded the ending.
    Great endings, like great quotes, don't stand by themselves. Their value comes from the context.
    A good example of this is the game "To the Moon", which was actually made with the RPG maker. It's got a beautiful ending because everything that preceded it, the conflict that the audience eventually hopes to see resolved, the emotional theme of the last wish & everything else was beautifully built up and the ending draws on all of that. Every scene, every theme, even small seemingly unimportant details that were woven into the story, it was all resolved and concluded in a single scene. Bittersweet closure that perfectly captures the game's themes of love, dreams and the regret of paths unwalked and chances unused, until the paths cease to exist.
     
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  5. Panda_Artist

    Panda_Artist Humble RPG Fan Veteran

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    I am starting to see how challenging all of this is, nevertheless. I want to keep going. I know the final product will not be perfect, but I am definitely taking notes!
     
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  6. Anyone

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    It's challenging to make it good, but honestly, if you manage to implement even just 50% of my advice, your story will be much better than the average story you'll come across. Better authors than I have made blunders and still managed to write great stories. You should think of advice as a pirate's code - something that gives you a direction, not a list where you need every item checked or else your story will utterly fail.
    There's no such thing as a perfect product. Pick your favorite movie/game/book, look up the reviews, someone will say it's shitty. The same works also in reverse, even the most horrible product has some fan out there somewhere. At the end of the day, all you can do is give it your best shot, polish the edges when it's nearing completion, and then you release it. No artist likes to publish something too early, but a good work published is better than a possibly great one that'll always get improved bit by bit.
    (A bit of advice I should heed myself)
     
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