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No ending

Well, that was fast.  Only about two weeks ago I was saying that I was afraid the new abduction-themed horror story I'm writing would lead me face-first into a brick wall since I don't have an outline, and already I'm derailing my efforts by obsessing about the ending.

It's a fair reason to get neurotic and picky.  A story's ending isn't the be-all, end-all of its efforts, but it is the most important part.  The ending is the part you take with you, the part you remember the best.  It's the punchline.  The reward for making it through the rest.  You can get away with an ending that's merely okay as long as the rest of the story is good, but you simply cannot get away with a bad ending or a non-ending.  Nothing ruins a story faster.

And here I am with no ending in sight.

I'm really digging the premise so far.  It lends itself to all kinds of horror tropes and I'm having a great time visualizing the setting.  There are dozens of directions I can go from here, and they all sound appealing.  But if I don't pick one and go for it, what's the point?

It's especially a problem when it comes to subplots.  I'm fine with stories that have parallel or episodic structure with the supporting cast, but only as long as said cast in some way relates to the conclusion.  Even if they don't factor into the finale pragmatically - like, say, a random nobody who we've been following for forty pages gives the protagonist the Spear of Horjunka, which they need to kill the Winter Dragon - then they need to factor into it thematically.  Maybe that random nobody just ends up at the same bar as the protagonist, and they commiserate over drinks, and the nobody says something about their own misadventures that inspires the protagonist to go kill that goddamn Winter Dragon.

The problem with where I am now is that I could easily have twenty random nobodies wandering around, and so far the only thing any of them have to do with the Winter Dragon is to occasionally say, "Man, I sure do hate that Winter Dragon."  That's... stupid.

I've already thought out and shot down half a dozen ideas for Act III.  In one, the principal antagonists are suddenly killed and replaced by newer, more ruthless antagonists.  In context it would not be quite as random as it sounds.  In practice?  It would be a cheat.  "You're enjoying this story, huh?  Okay, well, what if we just arbitrarily stop and I tell you about these other assholes instead?  No?  Too bad."  Unfortunately, that idea has so far been the best of the bunch.

I'm holding out hope that I get some better inspiration as I keep going.  There's a good ending for this somewhere, I'm sure of it.  I just hope I think of it before I waste 20,000 words on a pod race or some shit.