How to End Your Story

HmmmAs a writer, you should have some idea of how you want to end your story from the beginning. When I began writing Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever, I thought I knew how I wanted it to end. But like most fiction, the characters took on lives of their own and soon the ending was a mystery to me.

When I was nearing the end of the first draft, I decided to look back at some of the books on writing fiction and class notes I had about endings and came across some interesting information. There are really only six (6) ways to end a story.

  • Resolved ending – This is where everything it tied up nicely with a bow. There are no questions to be asked and you know all your characters future.
  • Unresolved ending – This is the opposite of resolved. The plot is unfinished and the reader is left wondering what the future holds for the characters. This can work well to set up a sequel.
  • Implied ending – This is where the conclusion isn’t specifically stated and allows the reader to make us his/her mind. Does she leave her husband or doesn’t she? Did he murder his girlfriend or didn’t he?  This ending keeps the reader pondering and thinking about the author and the story.
  • Surprise ending – This is where the reader is caught completely off guard with a whole new turn of events. Maybe a character thought to be dead comes back or a hero becomes a villain. The goal is to create a dramatic shift in the reader’s attitude.
  • Tie-back – This is where the story starts with the ending and then fills in the details of how that ending came to be. Some authors prefer this style as it’s always easier to write if you know where you’re going.
  • Crystal ball – This conclusion goes way beyond the ending. It may explain what happens to the characters in the future. A common what to achieve this is in an epilogue.

The best advice I have for writers wondering how to end their stories is to ask yourself what you want your readers to think or feel when they’ve finished your story and what did you hope to achieve when you started it.  By the way, I chose an unresolved ending. Watch for the sequel.  🙂

Happy writing!


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