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How-to Tuesday

Impactful Endings, Part 1: What is a Conclusion?

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
–Frank Herbert

For the next ten weeks, we will be posting a series entitled, “Impactful Endings: How to Finish Your Story with a Bang!” This series will be about experimenting with different story endings to ensure your conclusion is satisfying to you and leaves an impact on your readers. Our first post is about the basic steps to forming a conclusion and the important details you should be sure to address in your conclusion.

What exactly is a conclusion and what does it consist of?

A conclusion can be one of the most difficult parts of the writing process. How can you go on an elaborate story-telling journey and then end it all with one or two simple paragraphs? A conclusion exists to wrap up all the loose ends of your story and summarize all that you have shared with the reader.

One of the most important parts of a story plot is, in fact, the resolution. Very few stories can successfully end without any resolution whatsoever; though we will be exploring a few versions of that type of story ending throughout the course of this blog series. But first, here are a few preliminary questions you might want to answer before writing your ending:

  1. What happens to the main character(s) in your story? What do you plan to have them achieve?
  2. What in the primary conflict in the story? Does this conflict get resolved?
  3. Who/what resolves the conflict?
  4. How do want the reader to feel at the end? Happy/sad/confused?
  5. Is there a message or moral you want to share?

Remember, a conclusion can make or break your story. How many times have you read a story and loved it until the very end, when something happens that leaves you feeling confused or unsatisfied? How many times have you read a story that had a jaw-dropping twist and left you wondering just how the author managed to accomplish it? Often times, it’s important to figure out how you want the story to end beforehand, so that you can take all the necessary steps to point your story in that direction during the writing process.

Sometimes you don’t know how you want to end your story until you’ve been writing for a while, and that’s okay. In the meantime, when developing your characters and the plot, think of the story from the reader’s perspective, and envision what kind of ending you would like to see. Just make sure you’ve answered all the questions above, and you should be on your way to a fine story ending!

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