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Ending in Depravity

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  • #62418
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    So in stories there are generally two categories of endings: the tragedy and comedy. Beneath those there are categories and many stories have them even overlap, some happy some sad, bitter-sweet sort of thing, but I really wanted to talk about one kind of ending in general and start some discussion about it. I’ve been thinking through it a lot lately and wanted to hear other people’s thoughts.

    My Dad has this saying/term when he talks about movies and books. When he comes across a story that is just heavy and dark and cruel, where in the end you come out depressed and where basically it just the conclusion that the world is a mess, he calls it a “All-You-Need-is-Jesus Ending.” Even though the story says nothing about Jesus or God necessarily, as a Christian that’s the take-away, but for non-believers, how do those stories affect them?

    So my question is, how do people feel about those kinds of endings? Are they helpful or are they harmful? And as Christians, do we have the duty to go farther than that?

    I have this story in my head, but, honestly, I’m afraid to write it because I don’t know how else to finish it except at that conclusion; to close the scene on a man who had been struggling the entire time, to just realize what a mess he is in and that humans are fallen, which is true and important to realize, but on the other hand I don’t want to only depress people and tear them down.

    Thoughts?


    @daeus-lamb
    @brandon-miller @anyone-else

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Evelyn.
    #62426
    I, David
    @i-david

    I have thoughts on this, but not the time currently. I will join in as soon as I can, @evelyn!

    Four
    INFP
    songwriter

    #62429
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    @i-david Awesome! Thank you!

    #62456
    Eden Anderson
    @eden-anderson

    @evelyn

    I can’t tell you how evil/dark stories affect un-believers…because I was saved at a young age and can’t well remember what it was like. But even though I am a Christian, I still know what it’s like to be fallen and sinful and I know how those types of books affect me.

    I once read The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler…and it ended in depravity. I didn’t like the story at all. It was so depressing.

    The description goes: “Grizzled American private detective in England investigates a complicated case of blackmail turned murder involving a rich but honest elderly general, his two loose socialite daughters, a pornographer and a gangster.”

    Basically the MC is hired to figure out why this one guy disappears and he gets involved in a bunch of murder, and blackmailing and tries to rescue an insane girl who goes around killing and seducing people. It’s sad and depressing and while I could handle it, I think I would have just been as happy never having read it.

    I think one of the biggest problems with books like that, at least for me, is that after I read dark and depressing stuff…I start to think like that. Instead of focusing on the hope of Jesus, my thoughts are evil, and dark. I’m not saying that I can’t read books that have any sort of evil in them-that would be unrealistic-but if the book only offers a message of darkness and corruption, it can affect me in wrong ways that are quite powerful.

    The stories we write are a reflection of us as well…I know from experience. At one point in my life when I was feeling sad and dark and angry, I went and bashed out this horrible story about a single mom committing suicide…to this day the story remains unfinished and I don’t ever plan on picking it up again. I am not saying that if you write a dark story or write about evil people, that it is a reflection on your inner character-certainly not!-I just think its important to think about ourselves and our hearts and the messages we are giving in our stories.

    I tend to be a very pessimistic person, and it comes through my stories…so my big struggle is to remember to add hope and peace. That might not be the same for you, but in my personal opinion I believe that every story no matter how dark and evil and painful, should have some sort of hope in it. Even if your cast of characters are all non-believers and doomed for hell, there is still the hope that they will repent-where there is life, there is hope-and I think it’s our duty as Christian’s to reflect that in our stories.

    I hope my ramble was helpful…this is something that lays very heavily on my heart…stories of hope and grace are SO needed in our age of hate, and pain, and brokenness.

    I am praying for you, Evelyn…because I totally get where you are at and am asking some of the same questions myself.

    "But how could you live and have no story to tell?" - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    #62471
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    @eden-anderson Your “ranting” was very helpful and you had some very powerful points. The world doesn’t need more brokenness without hope… very true.

    I was continuing to think over this and a movie I once saw came to mind: The Dead Poet’s Society, which is probably the most depressing movie I’ve seen and I absolutely hated it. 😛 I guess that’s a good example of a movie without hope.

    I’m really struggling with how to bring that in my story though. Is there a way to express hope without explicitly preaching the gospel? Maybe a way to show it.

    And thank you for prayers! 😀 😀 <3 I appreciate it.

    #62505
    Eden Anderson
    @eden-anderson

    @evelyn

    I think there are many different types of hope and many different ways of expressing it. There’s the hope of a new day, hope of restored relationships, hope in the smile of a child, hope in the arms of a loved one, hope in the first breaths of a new born baby…I think all of these stem from God, because He is hope in it’s purest form. He is hope itself.

    So, I don’t think you need to “preach the gospel” per say, to offer a message of hope.  I believe that God made us creatures of hope and so we don’t have to look far to find it. If we are aware, hope is all around us. Am I being to vague? Sorry if I am…🙂

    In regard to your particular story, without knowing the whole plot, I don’t really know what to say, but. I can try and give you a few general ideas. ( It’s funny though, because I have been struggling with this in my own WIP…my MC has had a horrible life, and is filled with hate and bitterness for those who wronged him. He lives in a world that is dark and evil and a culture that is falling apart…life seems hopeless. So, yeah, I have been thinking about this a lot too.)

    Anyway, I think hope is a mind set, so one thing you could do is to add bits of hope, even in the smallest ways, throughout your story. People making good choices, even if it’s hard…even simple things like a man helping a blind person cross the street…a girl refusing to cave to bad peer pressure. I don’t know, just an idea.

    That said, we have to be careful we arn’t offering false hope, because then our stories will be empty and just as depressing.

    I think a lot of it is about finding a balance. 🙂

    "But how could you live and have no story to tell?" - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    #62565
    Chelsea R.H.
    @seekjustice

    @evelyn

    Does it have to end with the depravity? I really loved Fahrenheit 451 and I think it did a great job balancing humanity’s evil and a new hope. Have you read it? If not, I’m going to spoil the ending for you.

    At the end, Guy, the MC, has been hunted from the only life he’s ever known and his city has been bombed into oblivion, caused by humanity’s own ignorance and depravity. But it doesn’t end there, though it could have. It ends with Guy and the other men who have saved literature and kept alive the memory of the past, standing and watching the burning city, knowing that they are now able to rebuild society and make the world a better place than it had been before.

    The consequences of the evil and ignorant lifestyle most of society had been living are made very clear, but for those who dared resist, there is hope and a new beginning.

    So back to my original question, does it have to end with depravity? What if your character realises the fallen nature of humans, but also realises that humans are capable of good as well, and then he goes and makes one small step toward a new beginning. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but a definite step to something new.

    Does that make sense?

    Mahalo keia huiʻana

    #62575
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    @eden-anderson You aren’t being vague, you’re being very poetic and inspiring! Good job! xD

    I really loved Fahrenheit 451 and I think it did a great job balancing humanity’s evil and a new hope. Have you read it?

    No but I really want to! 🙂

    What if your character realises the fallen nature of humans, but also realises that humans are capable of good as well, and then he goes and makes one small step toward a new beginning. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but a definite step to something new.

    So with this story and this character, the best way to add hope is through other characters like @eden-anderson was talking about, and then the MC realizing the world is a mess, and then standing there, and reaching out to help someone around him.

    One of the main parts of my story is him realizing what doesn’t matter in life, and what does. But I’m doing to have to remember to bring out that second part there, to keep from being depressing, just like Eden was saying, you can show the depravity, the brokenness, but show something more too.

    Well, thank you all for your help! It was certainly helpful. 🙂

    #62647
    Eden Anderson
    @eden-anderson

    @evelyn

    Glad I was of some help! And thank you…coming from a poet who is quite lovely and inspiring herself, I feel honored. 😀 ❤️❤️

     


    @seekjustice

    So back to my original question, does it have to end with depravity? What if your character realises the fallen nature of humans, but also realises that humans are capable of good as well, and then he goes and makes one small step toward a new beginning. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but a definite step to something new.

    Good point! Love that.

    "But how could you live and have no story to tell?" - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    #62648
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    Glad I was of some help! And thank you…coming from a poet who is quite lovely and inspiring herself, I feel honored.

    Aww thanks! 😀 <3

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