The Horror of the Rushed Ending

Yu Yu Hakusho

A few months ago, I finished reading ‘Yu Yu Hakusho’.  I remember hearing that there was something off about the ending.  Well, I have to agree even though I would recommend the series for any manga/anime fans.  It’s considered a great story for a reason, which means a rushed ending didn’t hurt its longevity.  Although, I know a lot of people who will stop a series at a point where they think it’s a good finale.  Heck, I’ve done that with a few where I didn’t like the last season or story arc.  So, what exactly do I mean by a rushed ending?

This is different than a series being drawn out beyond its story.  A rushed ending is when the story is still going strong and making sense with a clear course towards the final installment.  As you get closer to the end, you start to see things that strike you as a bit odd.  Maybe fights are happening off-screen or taking only 3 pages instead of entire chapters.  Characters are learning plot points in rapid succession without actually earning them.  This is either by villains blabbing for no reason, important items literally dropping into the hero’s lap, and other low impact twists.  Development can slow to a crawl or leap forward so much that you can’t figure out how much time is passing.  Subplots that have been groomed for volume after volume are sewn up with the simplest of solutions that may even go against character personalities.  At the very end, the last stage of conflict is over in the blink of an eye and feels . . . empty.  You’re left wondering if you missed something and go in search of what that could be.  All you find is a horde of fans wondering the same thing.

It is for this reason that I do a lot of planning, but I totally understand how an author can hit a rushed ending.  You put a lot of love and attention into a project that gets popular, so you have to keep going.  Maybe you have something else that you want to work on, but the current baby requires everything you have.  I know I felt that Legends of Windemere occasionally consumed my creative time.  That is when I stepped away to work on something else, but not every author has that luxury.  In fact, those under contract don’t have that or even full creative control at times.  At least that’s what I’ve read when I look into some of the rushed endings.  This is what some will do to bring a conclusion to one project and free themselves to do another.  I can even see how the popular idea grows stale and stagnant because you’re not allowed to do anything else.  Kind of like eating only vanilla ice cream every night.  Eventually, you’ll get sick of it, want a different flavor, and might not even go back.

Now, I know I said ‘horror’ in the title and readers do think that way.  Yet, I’m sure there is a sense of relief for an author who has looked at his beloved project as a heavy weight upon his or her shoulders.  A story should never be a burden to its creator outside of giving them ideas as they’re about to fall asleep.  By that point, things have already gone askew and you might never get back on track. Taking a hiatus can help, but the negativity might be there when you get back.  Not to mention getting constant questions about when the series is going to pick back up again.  So, you don’t really get away until you put an end to it, which may be done at breakneck speed.  It’s always a possibility in this business and one never knows when they will find themselves considering it.

So, what do people think of ‘rushed endings’?  Have you ever had to do one?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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42 Responses to The Horror of the Rushed Ending

  1. I agree with you, but think the drawn-out ones are even worse.

    😀 I had a serial story running on my blog that I love. I wasn’t able to keep up on it every week and literally hit the main character with a bus to end it.
    It’s a good thing it’s not published, then I wouldn’t have been able to do that.

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    • I’ve got a serial going on Thursdays, but it’s a full novel that I’m doing. So, there will be an ending. Drawn-out is a strange one if you think about it. Much of it involves the rate of release. A story that is only weekly can reach the drawn-out stage faster than one that is daily, but slower than one that is monthly. I think a lot of it involves maintaining tension at the right pace. It’s a balancing act that makes it different than a rushed ending. The latter is kind of sad while the other is more galling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True. And I realized my original plan to write as I went was the problem. Even I got bored in the necessity steps from A to B, then didn’t know where to go after G.

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      • I’m finding it hard to write with big gaps between sessions. I can only imagine how difficult it is to do it for an ongoing work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • V.M.Sang says:

        Charles, you say thatit’s difficult to write with gaps. Yes, I agree, but in response to Chelsea, I have an ongoing serial on my website (Dragons Rule OK) and I’ve written most of it without the gaps, and am simply chopping it up into sensible parts and posting them each month. Incidentally, it’s easy to schedule them, then it’s done and dusted and you can work on other things. I find that much easier.

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      • My Thursday serial is a completed novel that I’m doling out. My issues with gaps between writing sessions is mostly when they’re long and inconsistent. I could go a few days without writing or maybe two weeks. The unpredictable free time of my life makes it difficult I retain the creative flow. If I gave to read over everything I do previously then I don’t get to the writing part. It’s frustrating.

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  2. Rushed endings = disappointing endings 😱

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  3. L. Marie says:

    I read a trilogy the ending of which felt a bit rushed. It was over two thousand pages, yet in the last 50 pages, some of the threads had yet to wrap up. So the ending felt rushed to me. I was very disappointed and never again returned to the series.

    I have heard of a series where the author spent ten years writing book 1. Once it was acquired by a publisher, the author had less than a year to produce the second book in order to publish it the next year, and even less time with book 3. So I have to wonder if the author even knew what would happen at the end when the first book was published.

    I don’t think of an ending as drawn out if it feels earned and inevitable. That’s why I loved the ending of Avatar, which took place over multiple episodes.

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  4. I have all too often felt disappointed by the “final confrontation” endings that seem to last about three pages (at least in “feel”) after a four to five-hundred page buildup.

    The most incredible example of the OPPOSITE, the exquisitely organized, ties everything up, and keeps you on the climactic-edge of things ending with a length suitable to the build-up was the last volume of The Wheel Of Time. If Robert Jordan is up in heaven looking down I think he’s probably asked to be Brandon Sanderson’s guardian angel for the rest of his life! Virtually the entire 500,000 wordish final volume was a climax as it wrapped up one plot point after another in an increasing progression AND… even made room for a warm, satisfying, post-climax ending.

    – MJM, a WoT fan since the early 90s

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    • I’ve heard good things about ‘Wheel of Time’. It got iffy in the later stages, but managed to pull off a good ending. Not easy to do considering it was a long series and the creator had passed away before completion.

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  5. Patty says:

    Reblogged this on Campbells World and commented:
    Here’s a great topic I’d love for authors and readers both to get involved in.
    So, how about it?
    Have you had this problem? What do you think of it?
    Do rush endings happen in books that aren’t series, or is it just in series where you find it?
    Comments?
    Please make sure if you comment that you check the box to get replies.
    Thanks.

    Like

    • Thanks for sharing.

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      • Patty says:

        You’re welcome. I wish I’d had the assistance of more knowledge before I published my first book. It could have been so much better. Now, I’m doing a second edition, and it will be included in a trilogy of three books. I am excited about it, because it will show how much my writing has grown since I first began to publish years ago and I am hopeful for a good result. Mainly though, the assistance of good advice would have protected me from a lot of things I have gone through along my way.

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      • I think a lot of authors feel that way. Especially with indie authors, you kind of jump in solo. My first book is nothing like my newer ones in terms of style and technique. We tend to learn from our mistakes, which is good.

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      • Patty says:

        We all grow as we go. 🙂

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    • Lindsey Russell says:

      This happens in crime fiction a lot, whether stand alone or a series – though CF series follow a different format to fantasy in that subplots rarely extend into subsequent stories. And they also differ in that rather than ‘rushed’ the endings are ‘quick’, even ‘abrupt’ but that is the nature of the genre. The story is finished when the ‘bad guy’ is unmasked – think of the ending of any Agatha Christie novel – there’s no point in drawing it out, you want to hit the reader with it as hard a possible. There might be a short wind down scene afterwards but just as often there isn’t.

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      • So, crime novels have trouble mastering the dismount? Never realized that.

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      • Patty says:

        Very true. I do not write those genre, but I do read it.

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      • Lindsey Russell says:

        Charles – can’t add to your comment so answering here 🙂
        Read my comment again – most CF authors handle a quick ending well (though admittedly there are some where you think what the ?**!) because once enough clues are out there for the reader to work it out there is no point hanging about. You risk boring your reader and making your sleuth(s), whether amateur or pros, look inept 🙂 With fantasy you can take a little more time to arrive at a resolution but not too long or, as in any genre, you risk boring your reader (and if they are bored they won’t come back). Yes tie up any lose ends not being carried forward but don’t leave them all until post climax.
        🙂

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      • Sorry about that. Subplots can help in fantasy to get more out of the characters. Yet, you can only do that for so long.

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  6. Man, if you’d have changed the manga to Game of Thrones it would have read well without missing a beat. They did step away for a whole year, then brought back this year’s drivel. As a standalone book guy, I don’t feel like I’ve done this one myself. Things are changing on my front, so I’ll watch out for this as Lanternfish becomes a trilogy.

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  7. Staci Troilo says:

    Hmm. Given the choice of reading a rushed ending or a drawn out ending, I’ll choose the former. But neither is desirable after I’ve devoted so much time to a world. You’re right, though. Sometimes deadlines or content are out of a writer’s control. It’s a shame the work might suffer because of it.

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  8. First off, I would love all the pressure of a publisher who threatened to take back the $50,000 advance. That said, you probably know I work the endings first and then go back to fill the details. This is how I avoid what could be seen as rushed. Good post, Charles. Sorry, I’m so late on my comment.

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  9. One thing about self-publishing, you can add more volumes if you think they’re needed to tell the story properly.

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  10. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo

  11. Jemima Pett says:

    Oh yes… rushed endings. I realised I had done that with my first drafts of the last two books of my series. The second last, because I wanted to finish it and get on with the final one, and the last… because things turned some different ways and then I couldn’t fit in long-planned plot twists.
    But hey – I’ve fixed the second last now, and it’s nearly ready for the editor.
    Then to redraft the last.
    I think it’s part of series fatigue. But your editor/publisher really shouldn’t let the author get away with it. So much for ‘gatekeeping’.

    Like

    • Series fatigue is a good point. I keep forgetting about that. As far as the editor/publisher, I’ve found that there are times when those parties push for the finale. The editor is less likely than the publisher since they are working to help make the best product possible. The fatigue can be on their end too.

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  12. Pingback: Seven Links Traci Kenworth – Where Genres Collide Traci Kenworth YA Author & Book Blogger

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