Do you consider the "Fade to Black" a cop out in stories?

So I’ve been wondering this for a while. I’ve seen plenty of books where a protagonist or otherwise stated character, will usually faint (or the story will fade to black for other reasons via censored sex scenes etc…) and that’ll usually end the chapter. I’m not bashing anyone for using this method of course since I’m guilty of it myself, but I use it as sparingly as possible as I feel it’s used for the more suspenseful or impactful scenes.

That being said, there’s been times where I’ve read a book and the author ends off every other chapter this way to the point where I feel as if the story relies on this one technique alone to drive any kind of conflict or plot.

So my question remains: Lazy writer? Tactful writer? Or a mixture of both? Or something different entirely?

Mmhm, it could be a mix of both. It depends if they’re doing it because they don’t have anything else in mind to write, or if it’s actually related to the plot and is meant to make the scene a lot more momentous

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It depends.
Characters may faint if there’s a reason why they faint. However, in the vast majority of stories that could happen once or twice, if at all. Except under very specific circumstances, it just isn’t plausible that this happens every other chapter.
Scenes can also fade to black if nothing important is going to happen during the scene anymore. Maybe it’s relevant that two characters are having sex, but it’s not porn and the reader doesn’t need several pages of details. Or maybe it matters that after a long separation two characters are taking a long walk on the beach and telling each other everything that happened in the past ten years, but the reader doesn’t need to know about every mundane detail in their lives. It’s similar to doing time skips. If one important scene takes place at home and the next in school, we don’t need a detailed description of everything that happened on the way to get there.
Fading to black is a cop out, if it is used as such. If important or interesting scenes are skipped because they’re difficult to write. This can be done via fainting, if the author didn’t know how to write a scene and decided to render the character unconscious instead such that it can happen off screen and be summed up afterwards. It can also happen without fainting and just skipping something important.

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I consider fading to black as the MC is tortured in the upcoming book because of the Wattpad rules for depiction of violence. I don’t want to have the story removed.

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Depends on the story. Fact is if it isn’t a sex driven story it doesn’t need sex. I write mature but if sex isn’t a major thing in my MCs storyline I will fade.

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If your character faints a lot, it suggests that they have some serious mental conditions.

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Or their name is Pamela, the teen maid in 18th century who is saving her virtue that way

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Of course, that’s understandable

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I seen some pretty graphic depictions of violence in many well known or popular Wattpad books, I think they just play Russian Roulette with whose book to take down at this point😂

Yea I get that. But what point do you think it’s used because they’ve ran out of ideas?

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I’m not sure honestly. I’ve never written any mature scenes. I know sometimes authors will write scenes as a filler or just because they’re in the mood to write a certain type of scene. Or maybe because it’s so popular they’re trying to get views? Not sure

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Thank you for your input, I completely agree🙂 I just want writers to know that there are plenty of ways to end off a chapter with some sense of suspense or impending doom lol

The only time I feel like it’s a copout is when too many chapters start with the MC waking up and end when the MC falls asleep. Like, you really can’t find a better way to end a scene?

Fainting with a valid reason you can get away with for two, maybe three scenes. Unless the MC has an illness that causes it. Otherwise, who faints that much? :woman_shrugging:

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Damn I wasn’t even smart enough to get that reference. Had to look it up…wow that novel sounds intense…

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Ah, enjoy! It always amuses me how Wattpad is blamed for tropes :rofl:

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well, ive used a fair bit, but only in the satire story that thinks it’s a TV show and intentionally emphasizes it’s own lame humor by pointing out overdone tropes, while using those very tropes. So i either approve of it very much, thus padding my own work, and avoiding hypocritical irony, or i do not approve, and therefore have made fun of that very thing in my own work with hypocritical irony. depends on how well relieved it ends up being, then i’ll decide and make that the opinion i had all along.

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If it isn’t done for a reason, than yeah I can see that. Actually I wouldn’t call it so much lazy writing as I would, ‘timid’ or ‘inexperienced’. I think young authors sometimes feel like they can’t just cut a scene off when the action stops, and they try to find a lull to end the scene at, and fade to black fits that for them.

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I did use the fade to black in my last novel, and it does fulfill an artistic purpose. It happens twice in there, right at the moment where my MC loses her consciousness due to distinct circumstances.

The book follows a classic three act structure. Both incidents happen at specific parts in the book that connects these acts with each other, also showing the development of my MC in different stages. So each time she wakes up again, the story has developed - from the calm and peaceful introduction of her character and her place in the world in act 1 to the gritting survival adventure in act 2 where she is on her own, encountering problems she has to solve by her own means, also facing the villains of the story as a weakened character. The other fade to black, after he being rendered unconscious again, leads us into act 3 where she considers everything that she has learned so far and decides to take action herself - which leads to the big climax of the book.

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Yes it’s a cliche and indicative of lazy writing…but…there’s a reason it’s endured as long as it has. For as much as we hate cliches, some of them work and people like them. A scene slowly fading away as something horrid is about to happen, a hero collapsing after giving his all in battle, a shocking reveal causing the recipient to faint, people still have fun with these cliches. Yes, you probably should find other ways around them, but don’t beat yourself up if you end up relying on one.

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If it’s a sex scene and the story isn’t a romance, I don’t don’t see why a fade to black is a bad thing? A lot of writers are not comfortable writing about sex, and let’s face it, it’s a tough thing to write. Especially if your family or friends might read your book. Fade to blacks are completely acceptable for these, because they rarely advance the plot anyways.

In romance? If I’m reading an adult romance and I see a fade to black, I’m done. I don’t mind sex at all in my books, in fact, if they are pleasantly written or hot, I’m all in. I remember in high school I read this book called “Heavy Weather” which had one of the worst sex scenes I’d ever read. It had nothing to do with the plot, and was kind of unpleasant. In that case, I wasn’t reading the book solely for sex, and would have been fine with a fade to black.

Of course I wouldn’t have if the characters had more chemistry and I actually found that particular sex scene pleasant.

If the book is a romance, fade to black during sex is a bit copoutish to me. If this is a teen romance, for the love of God, fade to black. If it’s a rape-torture scene, and your book is a take on Old Mother Hubbard, you’re not gonna do anyone a disservice by fading that shit to black.

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