Writing an Effective Ending

Story endings can be tricky. You want to know when to stop to pack the most punch and satisfy your readers. These can be hard to figure out so today let’s look at when to end your novel and some dos and don’ts for ending your story.

  • Don’t introduce any new information, subplots, or characters (without foreshadowing) towards the end of your novel. You should be resolving any loose ends, not adding more.
  • Do make your ending satisfying. It doesn’t have to be a happily ever after ending, but it shouldn’t disappoint your readers.
  • Do not use flashbacks. Keep the action moving forward and don’t slow down your pacing.
  • Do Show, Don’t Tell. Once again don’t slow the action down with a lot of exposition.
  • Do resolve the central conflict. Even if you are writing a series, you still need to tie up the major conflict of this book’s story arc, even if you don’t resolve the major arc of the series.

As far as knowing when to end things, we just need to ask ourselves a few questions.

  • Has the conflict ended? If your characters have beat the baddie, you only need to resolve loose ends and call it a day.
  • Has your dramatic question been answered? Dramatic questions are the questions you raise with your readers such as will she defeat the villain and save her family; will he get the girl in the end; and will she save humanity and find the cure? If this question has been answered, your story is finished. Craft the ending.
  • Has your protagonist’s goal been reached? She’s been working towards one thing the entire story, so when she finally attains her goal, it’s time to end the story.
  • Has your climax just occurred? Your climax is the ultimate confrontation between the baddie and your protagonist. If it’s just happened, you know it’s time to wrap things up.

These should help you find your ending and make it one readers will love. What tips do you have for ending your stories? Share below and happy writing.

Julia

Follow me at Our Write Side and on Twitter for more tips and inspiration and find me on Facebook for weekly prompts and stories.

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