How to end a story
Updated: Jun 13, 2018
The majority of writers have difficulties in finding a good ending.
The ending is as important as the beginning, I would say even more important. If it's true that without a good beginning the readers won't continue the book, it is a fact that without a good ending they will feel disappointed and will forget everything they loved because the last pages are the ones that will stuck in their minds.
Also, as a writer, it would be a shame if you ruin a good plot because you didn't spend some time to learn how to properly end a book.
So if you are struggling to find a good end that will leave your readers amazed by it, this article is what you need.
Decide the kind of ending
Before deciding what type of ending suits your story, you have to know what is the appropriate kind of ending for your plot.
Is your book a series of book?
Do you want readers to feel happy or sad at the end of your story?
What genre is your novel? If it's a mystery it can't end without solving the mystery and if it's a tragedy it's not feasible for a ‘happy ever after’.
Different types of endings
First of all, here is a list of the most common types of endings. If you don't know how to end your story yet, this can be helpful to give you some ideas.
Is it really the end?
This is the type of endings that leaves the readers with lots of questions. It could be a cliff-hanger or a main conflict left unsolved.
It is my personally favorite but it requires a well thought plot where everything was built in order to create an end that it actually isn't.
The plot twist
During the whole book, the readers imagine possible endings while with a plot twist ending, if it's well performed, the end leads to a big unexpected twist that leave the readers shocked or at least surprised.
As the name tells, this is an understandable and clear ending. All the questions are answered and all the mysteries are solved. In order to do it, the writer has to avoid any plot holes.
'What does it mean' ending
This is the kind of ending that makes people tilt their head to the side wondering what that last paragraph means.
The ending that explains what happens in the distant future to the characters or to the world or society they took part in. Avoid writing everything in this ending (X married Y and had 6 children that became XXX) since it's always better to leave space for the readers imagination. Feelings are more important than facts.
If you are writing a saga or trilogy
In this specific case, your end won't be a real end until you are writing the last book of the series - even though ones can also end with an opened-ending- but this doesn't mean that you can end the book roughly.
In each book some major obstacles need to be overcome
Each book has to lead the characters closer to achieving the main goal
Cliff-hangers endings are suggested in saga to keep readers curiosity awake
Remember that if you are writing a saga, the story has to be thought and planned as a whole before splitting it in volumes otherwise you story will be poorly executed and will have a weak ending.
No matter which ending you chose, god endings are a result of well build-up plot.
Write stories where the characters struggle to reach their goals, create tension and lead your characters to that specific ending instead of leading that specific ending to your characters.
Cheating with your end won't work and readers will understand right away if your end isn't the result of a whole well thought plot.
What to avoid
Bad endings can ruin an entire novel.
Here are the most common:
Anticipation of a climax that won't happen
The protagonist is mad and imagined it or they dreamed it
Someone or something came out of the blue and solve everything
Everyone is happy/ Everyone dies
Ending too soon/late
Write what you would love to read
Lastly but not least, write an ending you would like to read.
Think about your favorite books.
Which one has the best ending and why?
Now that you are a writer, try to read as a writer and not as a reader.
This will help you understand why you love your favorite books and you will be able to learn from them.
Have you already ended a story? If so, which ending did you choose?
Don't hesitates to share your comments and opinions. ❁
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