White Eagle Coffee Store Press
The Scent of an Ending™ Contest
A Competition for the Really, Stinky Ending of an Imaginary Novel
Many years ago, I first encountered Frank Kermode's important critical work The Sense of an Ending--a title that I could never get out of my mind. At the time, I was fascinated by theory but also engaged in reading and writing fiction and eventually teaching creative writing, which I did for many years.
One of the most basic problems that I encountered in my own writing was endings. Coming up with a good idea for a story was not so much a problem; writing well certainly was. But, endings! Endings that fulfill all the conditions of the story: that seem neither surprising, nor expected; not conventional, nor imitative, nor clichéd; not too quick, nor too slow; nothing forced, and always with a sense of 'rightness.'
Some annoying endings: I read Dick Tracy as a child and found it irritating that a plot that took months to develop always finished in 2 or 3 panels. I love movies, but why can't more film writers work their ways out of stories without blowing everything up? Or, getting someone pregnant, or making everything 'cute.' What about the totally confused ending that one of the characters has to "explain"?
Teaching creative writing, I found that one of the hardest parts of the instruction was to help each fiction writing student find a way to finish a story in a believable manner that remained true to the conditions that the story had inherited from its characters and conflict.
Doing the preliminary reading for the Long Story Contest, International, before the finalists go off to the judge, I have read hundreds of wonderful stories that fail in the final pages. And, judges tell me that, even of the finalists, usually only a few provide satisfying endings. The winner is always one that gets the ending right.
So, it must be easy to write bad endings, and here's your chance to prove it.
The Scent of an Ending™ Contest Guidelines
By mail--Send each entry printed double spaced with a check to WECSP for $6.37 to The Scent of an Ending, White Eagle Coffee Store Press, PO Box 383, Fox River Grove, IL 60021
By e-mail--Send each entry within the body of an e-mail, not an attached file, to
email@example.com and send $6.37 by PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use subject line: Scent of an Ending.
In either case, be sure to include complete contact information: name, address, phone, e-mail with the entry.
You may submit more than one entry with an additional reading fee attached to each entry.
Go the to The Scent of an Ending™ web site for more information
and for the current crop of finalists.