The Different Types of Fantasy and What Is Fantasy?

Recently I have been posting my original story Aftermath here. I decided to take a break from posting on here to get a little bit ahead on my Patreon. Today I wanted to talk about the different types of fantasy out there and what really constitutes the term “fantasy”.

The most common is the sword and sorcery fantasy in a medieval setting where technology doesn’t exist in the terms of the modern world and this can be cut into two subgroups: 1. High fantasy where magic is very present and the problems face the world and plate armor is the armor of choice for every warrior. 2. Low fantasy that focuses more on the people and smaller problems, less war more personal conflict.

Then it starts to get a little bit more weird with Modern Fantasy. It starts to blur the line of fantasy and sci-fi. The marriage of technology and magic can begin to become more of science than fantasy. But, that brings up the point of what constitutes as fantasy? Is there a hard line drawn or is it more ambiguous and all encompassing?

I have been labeling Aftermath as a fantasy series because I focus more on medieval style of combat than a modern one. There is not a magic system per se but there are various people in the story that have extra abilities. Abilities that would give them an advantage in a fight. It’s definitely more on the comic book superhero end of fantasy, but I believe is still a fantasy story.

Fantasy is really anything that couldn’t happen in the real world. This means that superheroes are fantasy and that Science Fiction is fantasy as well. They are both on different sides of the fantasy spectrum but still on it. There are some people that would argue this with me and honestly I encourage it, I would love to talk more about this subject one on one with any one. But, it comes down to is there something that sets others apart from the common folk in the way of magic, powers, or science? If yes then it is a fantasy tale.

Again, I encourage the discussion, if you agree with me let me know and tell me your reasonings. If not then tell me why you disagree (politely). I would be happy to have a discussion with you about your viewpoints and opinions.

Aftermath Pt. 6

The bolt stung as it went into Jareth and his vision was dark. His eyes went white as he heard bolts thud into the old wood pews of the abandoned church. The shouting was deafening but through it all Jareth could tell where the main threats were.

Jareth pictured it in his head. He knew there were 10 men firing at them at different positions up past the Father. It would be hard to get the shots off that he needed but he shrugged the bow off and notched the first arrow.

The pulleys made the draw easier and he readied, spun around, and let the arrow fly once he got the shot. The first one went down with a shriek and a thud. Jareth fell back and readied another waiting for the lull in between the volleys. It was almost rhythmic, thud, lull, thud, lull.

On the third he turned again and loosed another arrow and as he spun for cover heard another shriek followed by another thud. He was making headway in the assignment he was given by Red and more importantly he was enjoying it. Enjoying the feel being a combatant.

Another lull and another one down. This went on until the bolts stopped. He stood and looked down to see that the pew looked like a porcupine. He moved from his cover and went for hand to hand against the other members of the Fallen Priests now rushing him with blades of their own drawn.

He was still outnumbered but instinct took over and he blocked, parried, countered, and waited for an opening to make his own offensive.

Bodies hit the floor one by one as he lashed out finding openings. He cut his way through each of the priests as they charged and swung at him wildly. He kept walking forward until he was face to face with the father and caught the axe at the last second. This man was not what he let on, he was way too fast.

“You thought you could waltz into my church and demand I stop my work?! And then try to kill me?!” The anger was obvious in the Father’s eyes and as he spoke Jareth saw two teeth poking out from under his lips.

The teeth were sharp and thin. They looked like needles and they dripped venom that flung out as he spoke and spat out the words.

Jareth swung and hit him in the stomach and jumped back. He readied himself for the next onslaught and yelled at the Father.

“You think what you are doing is helpful? You are poisoning these people and using them for your own praise!” Jareth narrowed his eys the white shining through and they shone brighter than they did the last time.

The Father lunged again this time with bare hands and fangs at the ready to plunge into Jareth and kill him there. Jareth had little time to react, the Father was powered and more than most people.

He looked more like a snake than he had when Jareth had seen him the first time. His stance and the way he walked in a circle now with Jareth all seemed more reptilian than human. Jareth studied him and watched his movements looking for an opening to strike.

It was a long while back and forth blocking the Father and pushing him back waiting for him to slip up. Jareth could see that despite the powers he was starting to tire. His posture was starting to get slumped and his attacks were slower and sloppy. A few more onslaughts and Jareth would be able to find the opening he had been searching for.

One, two, three more attacks and Jareth saw it. His arms that had been defending him slipped and Jareth lunged knife first and sank it between the the Father’s ribs and into his lung.

Jareth saw the gasp but didn’t hear it. He pulled the knife the Father fell to the floor gasping silently and wriggling. Jareth spate the blood on the floor and went to retrieve the axe from the floor.

He looked around at the people who were in huddled masses trying to shield themselves from the combat around them.

“If you want to leave then you should. Without the Priests this place will be dangerous. Seek shelter elsewhere and try and build your lives anew.”

With that Jareth grabbed the father form the ground and headed to the Blood Skulls HQ to deliver Red the news of what he had done.

Aftermath Pt. 5

Out of the run down buildings, the church that Jareth walked towards had the least of the ruin. It still stood with all of its walls intact and a small bit of rot on the door. Jareth let out a heavy sigh and walked up the few stairs with the wrought iron handrail in the middle up to the door and knocked three times.

He stood there a while in the cold and the quiet. Just long enough to think he had come to the wrong church when he heard the click of the door handle turning and unlatching. The door swung open and revealed something that Jareth did not expect to see in the headquarters of a new gang, or any gang.

A man dressed in a black robe with white markings that Jareth couldn’t make out at the moment. His smile was warm if not unsettling.

“Hello there, brother!” His tone had the same unsettling feel as his smile, “Have you come to see the way of the light?”

Jareth shifted uneasily in his boots, “I am hear to speak with your leader. Would it be possible to arrange an audience?”

“The Father is always open to talking to future members.” He turned and gestured to Jareth,

“Come in and follow me. I am Brother James and I will take you to the Father.”

The walk down the pews was interesting, there were people huddled around the walls eating scraps of food that they had either found or been provided. It was odd, most gangs demand tribute from the townsfolk in the form of food to provide protection, but this one seemed to provide both food and protection. Jareth wasn’t sure how they did it because he saw no garden and there was no farm close to hear for them to maintain.

The walk was nearing its end when Jareth turned his attention away from the people on the walls to the man standing at the pulpit with the same inviting but disturbing smile on his face that Brother James had. His robes were a different color than any one else’s in the church. They were white and across the front as he opened his arms to greet Jareth was a black cross upside down. Jareth hadn’t studied the religion of his ancestors, but he knew that wasn’t a good sign.

“Welcome, welcome, welcome!” The Father exclaimed, “I see another downtrodden has come to join my flock!” His tone seemed inviting and jovial but something was there on the edge of his voice that made Jareth’s skin crawl all and want to leave him behind. “Tell me child what brings you here? How did you hear of my flock and the wondrous things I do for them?”

He was an egomaniac for sure and here Jareth was in his lair surrounded by supporters who would most likely die for him. The Fallen Priests weren’t a gang, no they were a cult and this leader would take over all the gangs territories to hear more people praise him. The reservations Jareth had about these being good people were gone, but he was unsure about how to proceed with his task.

“My name is, Jareth.” He started with no real plan of where to go from here, “I have heard things about your flock. Mostly that you are invading another gangs territory. They go by the name the Blood Skulls.” Jareth was not sure what he was doing or how things were going to go down when he told the Father about his mission.

“Ah, yes the heathens in their palace. I have heard of them and knew that we were in their territory but we are not a gang my child, we are merely a religious group here for the well being of the people and my flock.” His tone was still uneasy, but it was easier for Jareth to see the snake in this man.

“Father, if you don’t mind me asking how do you feed you flock? There are no farms nearby that are not owned by others and I did not see a garden or farm behind the church and you have plenty of mouths here. How do you manage it?” It was a question that Jareth knew the answer to but he needed to hear the man say it. He wanted the death to be justified. He played with the hand axe handle as he waited for the answer.

“That is a good observation, my child. We liberate the excess food from the farms surrounding us, not so much that they can’t feed their families but enough to feed the mouths we have accumulated here.” The Father’s smile was still there, but there was a fire in his eyes that Jareth hadn’t seen before.

“You take the food that people use to pay the Blood Skulls for protection.” This was an accusation. Jareth was angry because he knew what would happen to them if they couldn’t pay, “You steal so that you can feed yourself and those here, but say that you are here for the well being of the people. You’re vultures that want worship but don’t want anything to do with gaining the sentiment of the people.” Jareth ended his statement and as the smile fell from the Father’s face Jareth whipped the axe at his head.

Either the throw was too slow or the Father was faster than he anticipated but he caught the axe and roared.

“KILL THIS HEATHEN WHO WOULD QUESTION AND ATTACK US!” As the Father’s mouth closed Jareth swore he saw fangs dripping venom.

He had no time to think about that as he turned and ran towards the door his knife drawn and cutting down those in front of him to get cover from the crossbows that were being leveled at him.

He ducked behind one of the pews but a touch too late as he felt a bolt land into his shoulder from the back. His vision went dark, he never dealt with pain well.

Aftermath Pt. 4

Raymond’s place wasn’t too far of a walk from the Blood Skulls HQ. Truth be told, Raymond wasn’t a mechanic like the ones before the conflict. He was a mechanic in the sense that he lived in an old mechanic shop and worked on gear and the odd generator that was brought to him. Most people used solar power to have light in their homes but some swore by their bio-diesel.

To signify that he was open he raised the old garage door by hand and left it that way. He had a large fire going outside and a wood burning stove on the inside so that his guests wouldn’t feel as much of the cold.

Jareth made his way into the building and looked around, but did not find a trace of Raymond.

“Odd, Raymond is usually front and center when his door is open.” Jareth said to himself as the fires crackled. “RAYMOND, THE FUCK ARE YOU?!”He called out at the top of his lungs.

After he called out he heard a loud clang and several curse before a response.

“Keep ya shirt on!” The shout came back, “I’m working on something.”

There were more clangs followed by more curses from Raymond dropping tools and putting them in precarious positions on his work table. The door burst open as Raymond was obviously hurrying to see what Jareth wanted and why he was screaming.

Raymond walked out of the room that Jareth assumed to be his bedroom, he’d never been much further into the building than he was now. Raymond was covered in dirt and grease.

“Sorry to keep ya waiting,” Raymond started,  “Working on a bit of a passion project.” He dusted his hands off by smacking them together and leaned against the workbench near the door looking Jareth up and down. “Now, what were ya screaming about?”

“I have…been given a task,” Jareth began, “Somehow I became a lieutenant of the Blood Skulls and Red has told me to take out the new rival gang popping up in this territory or my family will die.”

Jareth finished and saw the look of confusion, concern, and fear on Raymond’s face.

“Well, that is a development from the last time I saw you. Didn’t quite peg you as an enforcer or a gang member for that matter,” Raymond said, “You going in alone or do you have any backup for this mission?” Raymond asked keeping a safe distance from Jareth just in case he had been ordered to hurt him.

Jareth shook his head and began, “Going in alone. She said with how easily I killed the Hammer Fist it would be child’s play to take out this gang.” Jareth looked down and his eyes were glued to the floor of the old shop.

“You killed that big fuck? I don’t know how, but if you’re going in alone and after the Fallen Priests you’re gonna need more than your daddy’s knife to bring you back out alive.” He turned towards the door he had just come through and motioned to Jareth, “Come on through here and we’ll get oyu set up to take them on.”

The room was impressive. Full to the brim of weapons for both close up and range. A couple of things caught Jareth’s eye as soon as he entered: a compound bow, old style with the pulleys that made drawing easier, with enough arrows that he would not have to worry about running out any time soon and a small hand axe that looked like it had been made with him in mind. Set down the beard of the axe would make it look like a “J”.

Jareth grabbed the axe off the table and tested the weight. It felt like it could be thrown easily which made the value to him go even higher. He knew it would work well with the knife he carried on his leg.

“Where’d you get this?” Jareth asked turning his head towards Raymond.

“Oh, that? I made it here in this shop. Forged er out of some scrap I found. Seemed like a good project for the forge that I designed.” Raymond said and pointed over to the half metal half stone forge that was filling the room with heat. “But, this here is what I was working on when you came in.” Raymond moved over to the table and grabbed a large gun that had a small tank of compressed air in the back.

He set it back down and opened a panel. “See I was thinking what to do with the spikes left over from the railways because ain’t none of us using them. I ripped a few out of the ground and figured they’d make great ammo and I designed this. A spike shooter.” He grinned and continued, “You load the rail spikes into here and then the compressed air will fire them out with enough force to kill, but not as fast as a bullet.” He was obviously very impressed with himself and Jareth came over to take a look.

“I think it would suit someone a bit bigger than me. Don’t know if I’d make it over to the place I need to get lugging this thing around.” He slapped his friend on the back and started again, “I am gonna take that bow and the arrows though, need something to fight from range if I’m taking on the entire gang.

“Yea I do need to consolidate it to a smaller a chassis, but this is just the prototype. If that is all you’re taking then next harvest I will need you to supply me for the winter and for your family to provide some hot meals here and there.” Raymond said switching to business.

“I can agree to that. I’m off to that run down church right? That’s where the Fallen Priests have held up?” Jareth asked making sure the vague info he was given was not to lead him astray.

“Yep, they settled in there. Best of luck old friend.” Raymond said and after Jareth had strapped the bow to his back with the quiver on the outside of his right leg gave him what felt like the last hug he was ever going to get from his friend.

Jareth left and headed in the direction of the churh where the Fallen Preists had taken up refuge.

Aftermath Part 3

Jareth made his way back to the old hotel that served as the headquarters for the Blood Skulls. It looked different in the light, less intimidating and more inviting than a gang headquarters should look. As he neared the doors the man and woman who had looked at him disdainfully yesterday snapped to attention and gave their best version of a salute to him. He shook his head and went through the door, laughing on the inside that this menacing gang didn’t have a single salute.
He climbed the stairs to where he remembered his vision going out last night and saw her still in her throne, wearing the same dress that made him actively avert his eyes from her form, and the fiery red hair that hung at her shoulders.
“Red, ma’am…” He started fishing for words. He had not planned what he was going to say or what he was going to do. He was mostly just focused on getting there alive. “I don’t know what happened last night and if I hurt anyone I apologize. If you have to kill someone kill me and spare my family.” His eyes were glued to the floor in disappointment as the last sentence left his lips. His father would be ashamed that he wasn’t going to fight this woman to save his family. Then the strangest thing happened.
Red cackled. She threw her head back in laughter and lifted herself from her throne.
“What you did last night was slaughter my lieutenant like he was a lost lamb.” She said her voice sing-songy in the way that let the crazy slip from the edges of her mouth. “You killed him without a second thought and so you took his place.” She smiled, too wide for it to be comforting to Jareth. “But that was last night and now I have a mission for you!”
Jareth was on edge. He did not remember killing the man, but the blood on his clothes and the floor and walls here proved that he did open someone. He recoiled from Red out of instinct at what eh had done and she grabbed his arms and brought him closer to her than he ever wanted to be.
“Don’t be shy. I need to tell you what I expect of you!” Her breath smelled sweet and minty and her teeth were sparkling white. She brushed her teeth regularly, a luxury that not many people had these days. “I need you to go to a new gangs headquarters and kill their leader. They are encroaching into our territory and I will not have it. I’d do it on my own but you will have such an easier time with it than I will.”
Jareth looked into her eyes trying to see if she was joking. Enter a gang’s HQ and leave after killing their leader. This was a suicide mission and this was how she was going to get him back for killing her lieutenant.
“Ma’am, I don’t think that I can go in alone and leave alive.” Jareth said still in her grasp.
“Nonsense with as easily as you dispatched my last lieutenant you’ll have no problems dealing with these hooligans.” Her smile came back, but her grip tightened in one arm as she dropped the other. “Besides you wouldn’t want to disappoint me would you?” She asked her tone turning to more of a seductive one flashing him begging eyes and toying with the front of her dress.
Jareth blushed when he looked to her hand out of instinct and averted his eyes when he saw more of her than he wanted. Red cackled again and gave him a light peck on the cheek and let go of him.
“If you don’t come back I’ll assume you failed and got killed. Your family will be left alone and to their devices, you have my word. But, if you don’t come back with the head of the leader,” Her face became darker and the song left her voice, “I’ll kill your family in front of you and leave you on death’s doorstep forever away from your precious loved ones.”
Jareth understood the threat and could make no words as his throat went dry when her face darkened. He nodded in agreement and turned to leave. He heard Red’s laughing until he was a ways away from the old hotel. He hurried his pace and changed his direction.
If he was going to do this he was going to need help and he was going to need more than just his knife, He would need to go see Raymond the Mechanic. For support and equipment.

Aftermath Pt. 2

He was faster than Jareth had anticipated. He drew the knife and dodged in just enough time to dodge the hammer like fist. He took a defensive stance and prepared for the next charge from the giant brute.

He came at Jareth again and this time Jareth tried to block the attack with his knife but misjudged the hit and it struck him in the stomach. Jareth was wrapped around the giant fist and his vision went dark, his eyes went white and he grabbed the arm with his free hand and sank the knife into the giant arm and drug it towards him leaving a long deep gash in the arm as he pushed himself away and landed on the ground bringing the knife back in front of him ready for the next attack.

The large man screamed in pain and lowered his head and began charging at him again. He was at Jareth in and instant, bringing both fists down in a crushing blow. Jareth moved out of the way at the last moment letting the hammer fists crash into the ground and sink into the floor. Jareth spun and brought the knife into the side of the Lieutenant and gave it a twist. The Lieutenant fell to his knees and screamed in pain.

Jareth backed away and came in with a leap driving the knife into the back of the Lieutenant’s skull. His eyes rolled back into his head and he fell forward blood streaming from the knife as he fell.

Jareth’s breath was even and he did not seem shaken. Red gazed at him perplexed that the timid man who had come to her to make a deal had killed her best man so quickly. She sat up from her reclined position making sure to move so that her dress continued to cover her.

She began to laugh and spoke, “You definitely earned your deal. But, I am going to change it now. You will work for me when I need you and your family will live in peace. Does that sound agreeable?”

Jareth stood there and sheathed the knife. What he had wanted had been accomplished and his family got to keep all of what they could coax the ground to give them. He nodded in agreement with the deal and strode out of the building more confidence in his stride and his eyes stayed white until he got home and laid next to his wife.

Jareth woke the next morning sore and confused. He had passed out after the first hit had connected to him. He did not know what was going to happen with his family and he did not know how he got home unscathed except for the muscle pain and the bruise on his stomach.

He got up and looked at his clothes. They were covered in blood and from the looks of it the blood was not his but belonged to someone else. he stared at them for a long time trying to piece together what had happened the night before.

It had been a long time since he had an episode where he could not remember what happened to him. He had done something then ht at he was not proud of. Every time it happened someone got hurt, either someone close to him or someone who had threatened him. The anxiety that he killed the hammer fisted man over took him and he hurriedly got dressed and ran out the door to rectify what he had done that he could not remember.

Aftermath Pt.1

So I talk a big game on here and thought I should try my hand out at using all my tips in a story told here and on my patreon. If you follow me there it will be posted earlier than here and you’ll be able to hold that over everyone else that reads it. I hope you enjoy.

 

 

It was cold, it’d been cold since the conflict but today was colder than usual. Buttoning the coat around them tightly they made their way to the run down building. The blade hung heavy at his side.  A large knife handed down to him from his father. Bullets had run out long ago making this pistol he carried just a hunk of metal and an awkward club.

He had agreed to this meeting to spare him and his family the torture at the hands of the gang that ran the area he had settled. Countries were an idea of the long past, before the conflict. Now it was all gangs, clans, and warlords. Everything was ruled by force and bloodshed. Somedays the ground was more red than white with snow.

His families existence had been hard without making a deal with the gang. He figured that if he gave them some of the food they were able to extract from the ground then their time would be better. He slid through the open door and rested his hand on the handle of the knife and sighed heavily.

“Nothing would make this meeting worth it.” He said to himself. Already on edge and the men on the walls of the gaudy red velvet room were not helping the situation at all. He walked towards the stairs. In the old days this building would have been a hotel with conference rooms on the second floor but now it served as the head quarters for the Blood Skulls. And he was here to meet the leader, Red.

An unimaginative name to say the least but the person leading the blood skulls made their living with violence and intimidation not thinking or creativity. No one had seen the new leader but the rumors were that they were crueler and that anyone who said the wrong things in meetings with them were not heard from again. All reassuring things he told himself as he climbed the stairs and saw the conference room turned throne room open in front of him.

On the throne sat a beautiful woman. She wore all red from her boots to her hair. The tattered dress came went down to her ankles with a slip that was cut to her hip. If she made a wrong move everyone would see underneath. The top of the dress had only one strap remaining, and it was on its last leg. She was lounging and unbothered by the entrance of the man in the brown trench coat and jeans. His attire was the opposite of hers in every way.

Where she was barely covered he was completely covered. His boots that were once black, now faded from continuous wear, dark jeans that had seen better days from when he got them, a simple shirt to try and keep the cold off him, and the long brown jacket covering his weapons. His beard was cropped short, not an easy thing to do now a days. He was not an overtly handsome man but his rugged exterior and attitude made him seem more attractive that his outer appearance would suggest.

“And who might you be? Our new plaything? I must admit I was getting quite bored.” Her voice was almost sing songy but had an underlying hint of psychopathic tendencies.

“No, I am Jareth. My family and I run a small farm down the road and I am here to make a deal to keep the Blood Skulls from attacking us.” His father would have been ashamed of him to come groveling to this gang. He had kept them away single handedly for his entire life but Jareth was not like his father and lacked the fighting spirit he had. He just wanted to live peacefully with his family until the cold came and took them forever.

“You certainly did not come equipped to make a deal.” She said as her eyes flashed and Jareth could not tell if it was because of some supernatural feat that more and more people seemed to have in the Aftermath or if it was a trick of the light. “I’ll tell you what with your equipment you will have a fight against my lieutenant there,” She gestured to large man that whose fists looked more like hammers that hands. “If you defeat him I will require a very small tax from your farm and you will be free to go, not to be bothered by us anymore.”

Jareth swallowed hard, had she used some power to see that he had a knife on him? How would he be able to defeat this monstrous man? Would he even make it out of here alive if he somehow did manage to win? But, in the end what choice did he have, he would just be killed here and now if he denied the challenge. He sighed again trying to stop his knees from shaking.

“I accept.” He said his voice shaking terribly and cracking on the end.

The women laughed at him and looked to the man she pointed out earlier. “Kill this farmer for me.”

The man gave a grunt of agreement and headed towards Jareth…

Why Your Stories Deserve to be Told

Why do my stories deserve to be told? This is a question that I ask myself over and over again especially when I am feeling down on myself. Who would care about what I have to say and who would even pay to read it. Well not to get sappy or weird but they deserve to be told because they are your stories and have your own outlook on the world imprinted on them.

This also means that everyone who reads it will have a different interpretation as to what the story says to them. If you write fantasy to one reader, or several, it could be the new Lord of the Rings. If you write horror you could be the new Guillermo Del Toro that they have so desperately been seeking out. And the same goes for every other genre of literature out there. Don’t be like me and listen to the voice in your head that no one will care about what you are saying. While I am one of the biggest fans of my own work I also can tear it down faster and more efficiently than anyone else that I know.

I know this post differs from my normal advice and how to do things but after being in a slump recently only to come out of it better I wanted to share with you, my readers, what happens with me and to not listen to the critic in your head unless you are editing a sentence. Small scale is ok, but when you start to criticize why you are even writing stories to begin with, that is when it becomes detrimental.

Writing the Male Power Fantasy

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Why would males need a power fantasy? Tricky question to be honest, but the answer is pretty simple: everyone likes to feel powerful. Now for male power fantasy the power is the visceral, combat driven badass with a limited amount of emotions. Basically just a walking powerhouse with a sword or axe. The problem with this character other than the obvious is that character gets boring to read after a while. Look at the most recent God of War. Kratos is still the God killing guy he always has been but is developing more as a person with emotions and learning how to parent his son.

This makes Kratos a more rounded character and more interesting to play and learn the story of. How van a writer work this in taking a fresh book with new character and make them the male power fantasy and establish that they are developing as a character and person? They can make the character similar to Kratos and use flashbacks as a device to show the character’s troubled past. Or instead of flashbacks using town folklore or interactions with characters that bring up this power fantasy character’s past work as well. There are several tools but the emotional development can be the hard part here.

It could be the death of a loved one thatvwas a result of one of their actions or a new child that they don’t want to be like them because they see that being them isn’t the best thing that can happen. Or something terrible can happen to them as a result of something that they did. But, those are just my ideas. I would be very I retested to heat what you guys thought. Please let me know so we can discuss.

Unsatisfying Endings Can Be A Good Thing

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Recently I finished Far Cry 5 and to not give any spoilers I’ll just say that the ending I wanted did NOT happen. Instead I was left looking at the screen saying that it was horse shit and the most unsatisfying ending to a video game since I completed Halo 5. But, as I thought about it more I realized that the ending for the game was set up so that the player would remember it. The unsatisfying ending made it a more memorable experience and overall a better story.

An unsatisfying ending feels like a cop out at first. The knee jerk reactions are that they are setting up for a sequel or that the writers got lazy and just let the story end without resolving the conflict that incited the story. I have a different view though, as I stewed with the ending of the game I thought more about how I would remember it as a story and how those mechanics could be used to make my own stories more memorable to readers. Not all endings should be unsatisfying because then no one will read it because every reader will leave the book feeling blue balled by the lack of catharsis in the ending. They are a great thing in moderation and can be used expertly in the context of fantasy writing.

Fantasy, whether high, modern, or noir lends itself to great story telling and some great unsatisfying endings. Leading with a main character and then at the end of the book with their goals almost accomplished a supporting character swoops in, kills the main character, and completes the plan because it was his all along. Or your hero is about to slay the BBEG(Big Bad Evil Guy) but unexpectedly the BBEG pulls out some trump card and overpowers the hero leaving him either gravely wounded and unable to stop him or dead as the narrative for the BBEG continues to show him ruling over the world, realm, kingdom, or universe.

These ending moments will frustrate readers because they will come out of left field and leave them staring blankly at the page wondering what just happened and they will wonder if they wasted their time, but if done correctly then as they marinate with the ending they will start to remember it as one of the best stories they have read in their recent memory. I enjoyed the ending to Far Cry 5. Honestly, I did. After the initial frustration wore off. I will remember it as great story telling in the game even if it was a little bit railroading in the way the ending happened.

But, I am always curious as to what you guys think of unsatisfying endings. Do you like them after the frustration wear off or do you stay frustrated that you wasted your time reading a story that didn’t end the way you wanted it to. Please let me know and I will be happy to discuss either view point.