What do the folks of TvTropes think of this ending?:

Total posts: [6]
An accurate depiction
This is the ending I've written for my novel, Est Machina. I'd like to see some feedback on what sort of emotion it evokes, and what improvements could be made, particularly regarding dialogue and clarity. Be as specific or general as you wish.

Context: The two characters, Gant and Itou, are both mercenaries who had teamed at the start of the story. Although they weren't friendly at first at first, they've grown on each other, and possibly even fallen in love. This scene takes place after they won the battle that gives them peaceful retirement in a country where they'll be war heroes and respected. Gant is about to explain why he cannot stay, having decided it on the way to Itou.

“I need to speak to you, Isako.” There was no emotion in my voice. Emotion was more dangerous than the claws that carved me open moments ago.

“Of course,” she said, jumping up from her seat. They had finished bandaging her already, half her coat hanging in shreds on her body, showing the bright white of field dressings. “Looking forward to being a hero again?” she joked with one of her luminescent smiles that wished no harm.

It was odd how shells mulching my flesh bought less pain than a few simple words. I choked, my throat burning as I waved for her to follow. I was glad that I could not weep, could only feel the dry heaves wrenching my gut and shaking my entire body in convulsive jerks.

“So what is it?” she asks. “You’re unusually tense after the fight. Lighten up, we’re alive and there’s nothing but sunlight ahead.”

“I will not be a hero to them.” Revealing this is supposed to take a load off my shoulders. But all I felt was the shiver worsening, and even more darkness crushing my back. I must forsake this place. I must.

“Just because you’re not the most popular-” Itou began.

“Not that.” For the first time, I faced her. I do not want to see this face contorted in pain, but it is necessary. It tells me every reason for my departure. “Look at this. It is peaceful, quiet for at least a little while, for however long you can hold it.” She was quiet. “It is no place for me. War is magnetic, Itou. It follows me, and I have no choice but to draw myself into it. I cannot face a quiet death.”

“You’re leaving,” she said, in the same blank tone. “Can I convince you to stay?” We both know the answer. We are never wrong, and it is not in our power to alter such an ancient doctrine.

The moments of pain ring out in tune with the pain that shakes me. “I am sorry,” I said at last. “I cannot say that you will understand, but only that it will pass.” That is life: we were cast in separate molds, and to them we would go.

“I never thought this was how it would end.” Like me, Itou looked away. Just like a machine, she constructed a shell to hide herself. It was a pity, for one with so much to hide it from herself.

“You showed me many things, Isako,” I said. “And you gave me more than you should have, more than should be wasted on scrap metal. Thank you, Isako, for everything.”

“You took more from me than I had to give,” she said. “Get out, you son of a bitch.” A sob caught the last word, and I saw tears writing lines down her cheek.

I departed with what few scraps of dignity I could muster. And when the door closed, I ran. I ran until the city vanished, until my feel sank in soft earth, green in the leaf-filtered sun. I fell to my knees, wracked by silent tears that still would not come. It was over, spent, through. Not a story of love or joy. Just heartbreak.

EDIT: Paragraph breaks added where they should be.

edited 30th Sep '10 9:40:39 PM by Morgulion

This is this.
*Much applause!*

I like it. I think you know that feeling of hesitation — you have to tear out your heart for the one you love. Maybe some mood music to accompany?

But it's not without improvement that masterpieces are made. For one, there's keeping tense consistency, e.g.:

The moments of pain ring out in tune with the pain that shakes me. “I am sorry, ” I said at last.

Is it happening? Or has it already happened?

Introduce paragraph breaks for when a different person says something, to keep ze clarity:
“Just because you’re not the most popular-"

“Not that.” For the first time, I faced her. I do not want to see this face contorted in pain, but it is necessary. It tells me every reason for my departure.

Now the resonating emotions here — you've all but pulled my heartstrings. This is the denouement, the final conversation between Gant and Itou. I think it would be best served a slow afterburn, following the (possibly frenetic) climax. There could be dramatic pause in the dialogue, where you can offer a second to hint at what they feel. Whether it is a quiver of the eye, or wincing away to keep composure.

I especially like the final paragraph. All this had happened, and Gant gets away with nil, only to face conflict once more as a killing machine. It seems a bit abrupt to end it like this though. Perhaps extend it, to further imply his dreadful future?

Overall, much applause again!

edited 30th Sep '10 9:36:51 PM by QQQQQ

An accurate depiction
Thank you quite a bit.

And I think that there will be an epilogue that I will post tomorrow. Also a downer, but potentially in slightly different style.

The notes you made were quite helpful. I do need a bit more pausing there. As for the tense break, that was due to my draft being written simultaneously with a present-tense piece. I'll change that as well.

The paragraph break was an oversight that I will fix. That's what I get for uploading from Word.

Also, while I forgot to say this, the final line makes Book Ends with the first one, so it's probably best to expand before it.

But thank you again.

edited 30th Sep '10 9:41:41 PM by Morgulion

This is this.
4 Madrugada30th Sep 2010 09:40:41 PM , Relationship Status: In season

Very effective. Very.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
An accurate depiction
Thank you for the 3 medals, Madrugada. Incidentally, I write sad scenes while listening to the Schindler's List soundtrack. That's my BGM.

Here's the epilogue I was referring to:

Epilogue: Omnia rediit

1. The metallic remains of Harry Dage and Nicholas Gerem were melted into a statue celebrating the war of liberation. It was worth twice its weight in gold, the unwitting townspeople not suspecting that the nanomachines Gerem was made of could purchase far more than they were used for.

2. Jacob Rosenstein retired from a desk job at the age of sixty, filled with bitterness from a job he never asked for and a bright world that was taken from him. Changed from the cordial assassin he once was, he became silent, offering nothing and accepting even less. He shot himself a year later, bored of infirmity, full of realization that he had nothing else left.

3. Leonard Dausk found himself in high demand, remembered as a man who fenced with the legendary Ben Holz on equal ground. But that was not the point; the man who cut down his father was alive, and Dausk had failed to kill him when he had the chance. It was not a good situation to live with, but Dausk managed to build a mask and never look back to old times.

4. Holz had no family to go to, nor any friends to take him in, but of enemies, he had no shortage. He worked with the occasional batch of cadets when Itou was elsewhere occupied, then moved back to his dingy apartment on the city outskirts, a squat structure that might collapse any day, the walls worn nearly to paper thinness by bullets and wind. Holz just sat on his porch, smoking harmless cigarettes, waiting for another Leonard Dausk to come and shoot him in the heart.

5. Isako Itou remained in Uton, training soldiers. Although she often maintained that it was just a stable job, many often saw her backlit by flickering halogen lamps, of the officers’ barracks, looking into the distance between curling wisps of smoke from the cigarettes she had taken up. She didn’t know where Gant had gone. Looking was only a matter of principle.

6. There’s nothing to say of Gant. He had his story, and it ended. Metal too, can hold only so much history before it turns to dust.
This is this.
6 pvtnum111st Oct 2010 11:17:18 AM from Kerbin low orbit , Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
Nanotech - nice mention of their worth. I get a feeling of cyberpunk or something.
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Total posts: 6