I Want to Be A Writer Series
If you thought finding the perfect starting point for your story was difficult, you’re about to face an even more dramatic and painful event; finding the perfect story conclusion.
Personally, when I come to this point, I feel as if a clock has been embedded into my brain and the ticking of the hands begin to progress in their intensity with each paragraph I write. It is agonizingly maddening because I know that everything I have endured up to this point hangs precariously upon the cliff I am about to face. A bad ending could destroy everything because it is where you and reader part ways. This is the moment that will determine what their last, and potentially predominate, impression will be of your story.
The beginning of your story determines whether or not the reader will continue reading the book. The ending could very well determine whether or not they will ever read another book you write. Not a lot of pressure, right?
I know it sounds as if I am being too dramatic, and perhaps I am, to a certain extent. But you must recognize the importance of a good, appropriate, ending. Not every story ends with a happy ending. Not every book ends with a conclusion. If you are writing a book that will be a part of a series then you must determine what part of your overall story you are going to bring to a conclusion in this particular book.
Imagine your story is a train. You must determine what kind of destination your ending will encounter. If you are writing a stand-alone novel then you must clearly define the bumper your train will come to a stop at. If you are stopping at a depot and bringing only a part of the journey to a close, then you must clearly define the train station you are stopping at and indicate that this is only a breaking point and the journey will continue on. You are the conductor and you must take control of your train from start to finish. Your readers are your passengers and you want them to enjoy the ride and look forward to the next.
When you begin the ending of your story, you must have a clear understanding of what your plot is and how you want to conclude it. I know that may sound like an obvious statement, but keep in mind, not all stories end up exactly as they were originally planned. You may have an entirely different story than what you first began with and it is vitally important that you bring every necessary element of your story to a conclusion. Cliff hangers are a great way of leaving your readers begging for more. But if you have no intention of giving them more, that anticipation can quickly turn to anger against you. Don’t ever leave your readers confused like lost passengers.
I love to write, therefore, I hate endings. I find myself often writing far too much in order to close a story. If you are not careful with your ending, you can easily find yourself starting a whole new story that completely bypasses what your ending should be. Keep in mind that you are putting an end to your plot, not necessarily the life you are writing about. Every good book leaves you wondering what happened to the characters after the story ends. But that doesn’t mean you have to include the rest of their story in your conclusion. You could write another book to do that at a later time. Just focus on your plot for now and you will have a clear ending in sight.