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How-to Tuesday

Impactful Endings, Part 3: Talk in Questions

Every week, we update our current how-to series entitled, “Impactful Endings: How to end your story with a bang!” This series is about experimenting with different story endings to ensure your conclusion is satisfying to you and leaves an impact on your readers. Our third post is about ending your story with an ultimate question.

Talk in Questions

During our last post about summaries, we talked about how you might want to include a moral or a message at the end of your story. Another way to use this method is by ending your story with a question. Yes, a question!

It might seem strange to end a story with a question, because it might feel a little bit open-ended, as if you forgot to finish your story. However, if done right, ending your story with a question might turn out to be an extremely compelling conclusion!

Before you write your concluding question, it might be a good idea to go through your story and highlight all the important plot points, just like we did in the summary ending. You might want to address all the problematic points in your story and see how the main character handles each situation.

Another good idea might be to refer back to the character-building activities from the previous blog series to see just what kind of personality your character has, and whether or not they lean towards the good side, the bad side, or if they are just neutral. Your story might be promoting a moral or message without you even realizing it!

Here are some examples for potential concluding questions:

  1. Do you think that what Sally did was right?
  2. What would you do in her situation?
  3. Why do you think she did ‘x’?

When formulating your question, try to stay away from reading comprehension questions, such as, “What happened when…?” or “Where did she go when…?” because the reader can easily find the answer in the story.

You also want your story to seem fun and engaging, instead of didactic or “teachy.” Instead, you want to pose questions more along the lines of “What do you think about ‘x’?” This way, the reader has the opportunity to come up with her own personalized answer.

Of course, these questions are rhetorical, meaning that you should not expect the reader to actually submit an answer to your posed question. They might write out an answer themselves, or ponder the question for quite some time after reading your story.

Regardless, including a question at the end of your story contributes a unique perspective and shows that you want to include the reader in your writing process. It also makes for an engaging ending!

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