In an earlier post, we discussed the importance of a strong beginning, but having a strong ending to your story is just as important. The end of your story is the last impression with which you will leave your readers, and it can make or break their enjoyment of your work. A weak ending can leave readers feeling unsatisfied, confused, or even angry, while a strong conclusion can leave them feeling fulfilled, satisfied, and eager to read more of your work.
Crafting a satisfying conclusion to your story is a delicate balance between wrapping up loose ends, resolving conflicts, and having a lasting impact on the reader. Here are a few tips that will help you do this and leave your readers wanting more:
1. Tie up loose ends.
Be sure to tie up all major plot points and conflicts introduced throughout the story, resolving them in a satisfying way. By doing this, your readers will feel they have a complete understanding of the story and that it all makes sense.
2. Resolve all conflicts.
The climax of your story should be the resolution of the central conflict, but it’s also essential to ensure that any subplots or minor conflicts get resolved. Subplots and other conflicts can be resolved anywhere in your manuscript, including before the climax (in the rising action) or after (in the falling action).
3. Leave a lasting impression.
The ending should be memorable and thought-provoking. It should leave your reader thinking about your story long after reading, whether it is a moral, message, or feeling.
4. Show, don’t tell.
Instead of summarizing or telling the reader what the characters feel—show it through their actions and dialogue. This will make the ending more emotional and powerful. For more on showing and not telling, see How to Paint Tangerine Dreams and Marmalade Sky Word Pictures.
5. Keep it simple.
Avoid using unnecessary plot twists or convoluted explanations in the ending (i.e., do not conclude your book with a huge passage of exposition, also known as information dump). Keep it simple and to the point.
A strong ending should tie up loose ends, resolve conflicts, and leave your reader with food for thought. If you keep these tips in mind, you are sure to write powerful endings that will leave your readers coming back for more.