Within this series, we’ve looked at how you need to create strong beginnings, meaningful middles, and now we will dive into what must be present in your endings.
Your ending MUST tie up the events created in the middle. The reader has been following the story and watched your characters being pushed into action. Maybe disasters are waiting to happen. It could be that secrets are about to be disclosed, or a deadline is quickly approaching.
Whatever problems you presented in the middle will have to come to a reasonable conclusion in the end.
Stories show us opposing forces that will eventually collide in some way. When this happens, your story is finished. That’s the end.
But you must show the action and satisfy the reader’s need for a satisfying conclusion. If you don’t, your story fails.
For instance, introducing new characters to save the day at the end of your story doesn’t work. It also doesn’t work if a last-minute conflict crops up at the last minute. The ending cannot evade the promised collision.
It is the middle – and how you’ve presented the problems – that sets up your ending. Your ending must be tied to the middle.
So, how do you find a suitable ending for your story?
First, think carefully about where you’ve taken your characters. What problems or obstacles have you presented? What has your story promised the reader both emotionally and intellectually? Have you hinted at your MC growing into a more stable person? Then your ending must show the new stability.
Next, you need to evaluate the forces you’ve set in conflict throughout the story? What are they? Can you list them? Your ending needs to be crafted in such a way that each situation comes to a plausible, satisfying collision, and then a conclusion.
This skill is one of the most important things a writer can learn. Being sure to leave your reader satisfied creates your fan base.