Last Updated on July 20, 2022 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD
The ending of a story is one of the most important parts to have a truly memorable book that readers will be excited about. Writing fiction is not easy, but there are some ending tropes authors can include in their stories to make them more memorable for readers. Below are 9 tips for how to write the perfect ending of a story!
9 Tips for ending your story well
1. Don’t leave any important loose ends
It is very tempting to tie up all the loose ends as quickly as possible when ending a story. In some cases, this can work well for you and give your reader closure on how each character ended up, but some things should always be left out of an ending so they aren’t forgotten.
A good example of a story that does this well is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, where many characters die – but the ending still manages to be satisfying because it ties up important loose ends.
2. Choose the ending that fits your story
There are six different types of endings that people usually use, and it is important to know which one you will be using before ending your story.
Resolved Ending– this type of ending involves the main character either dying or living happily ever after with their love interest. The conflict has been resolved somehow because, typically, something terrible happens if there isn’t an ending resolution.
Resolved ending examples include Romeo and Juliet and The Great Gatsby.
Unresolved ending– this ending leaves readers wondering what happens to the main character next, and it is typically used for series rather than stand-alone books. This ending can be frustrating because if you like a book and want answers about where these characters go after their adventure ends, an unresolved ending will leave readers with more questions than answers.
Ambiguous ending– this type of ending involves the lead character dying or having a terrible fate. This ambiguous ending trope works well if you want to leave readers wondering and thinking about what could happen next. However, there are still other possibilities that readers can think about when they finish reading because instead of showing what happens to these characters after their adventure ends, there is more room for imagination and interpretation by readers.
Ambiguous ending examples include The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Unexpected ending– this ending trope involves a twist that will throw readers off guard when they finish the book because it hasn’t been foreshadowed throughout the story, or at least not as much as other types of endings would be. Because these plot twists are surprising, they can be very powerful and memorable after readers finish the ending of a book.
Tied ending– this ending trope involves having an ending similar to the beginning but also different enough from what was expected to make for a satisfying conclusion. A tied ending works well if you want your story to have some symmetry to it.
Expanded ending– this ending trope is similar to the tied ending because there are several similarities between the beginning and end of a story. Still, instead of predicting what will happen next before reading, readers have no idea where these characters’ stories will go after they finish reading. This makes for an even more satisfying ending when readers finish the ending because it is so unexpected.
When choosing a good ending for your story, think about what type of ending will fit best with the rest of your book and how you want readers to feel when they finish reading about these characters’ adventures. Once you know which ending trope will serve as a good conclusion to your book, then focus on writing a satisfying and memorable ending so readers will want to return for another adventure with these characters.
3. Don’t rush your ending
Endings are not something that can be rushed, or else you will find yourself with a story that feels incomplete and unsatisfying. The ending should feel like it has come together in just the right way to match up with your plot.
For example, ending a mystery novel with the ending being revealed to be something that didn’t make sense and was just thrown in will leave your readers feeling as if they have wasted their time reading this ending.
In contrast, ending a story where everything fits together perfectly can keep readers from putting down your book because it makes them feel satisfied with having read the ending and wondering what will happen to their favorite characters.
Take your time writing out your ending so that it is perfect because this can make or break a story for readers. When they finish reading a good ending like the one you just wrote, they are going to remember how great of an ending it was – maybe even more than anything else.
If you don’t know how exactly to end your story well, take some time to think about it. Write out a few ending scenarios in your notebook, and then come back to the ending when you have figured out which one will work best for your story.
4. Don’t be too cliché
Cliché endings are those that seem to have been used over and over again. They don’t feel original, and they can make for a boring ending where nothing new or exciting happens.
For example, the innocent best friend who dies to save their friends from danger is a classic ending trope that has been used many times before. It’s a pretty ending, but it isn’t very interesting and doesn’t give your readers much reason to think beyond the ending that just happened.
Another example of a cliché ending is ending a story where the main character dies, leaving everyone else to live happily ever after. This ending doesn’t offer much in terms of suspense or excitement because it is predictable and used many times before.
Endings should be unique to your particular story rather than those you have heard about from another book. Take the ending twist you have in mind for your story and write it out to see how well it fits. If it feels cliche, try again until you come up with something different but just as satisfactory.
At the same time, endings should not be so unique that they don’t make sense or are hard to imagine. After all, there is a reason why ending tropes are so popular – they work.
Please do your best to make an ending that will capture readers’ interest by being unique, but not too much where it feels like you have no idea how this ending came about in the first place.
Writing out different endings for your story can be helpful because then you can see how they all fit together. If you have a hard time ending your story, it may be best to leave the ending out for now and return to it when you are finished writing the rest of your book.
Doing this will allow you to write everything else in order without worrying about what will happen at the end. Once you get to the ending of your book, then finishing it will be a lot easier because everything else has already been established.
Avoid rushing through this part and instead, take time to think about what kind of ending will work best for your story. If you have written out different endings in advance and know how they fit together, take your time to ensure that the ending you have been imagining is perfect. Ending a story well can make or break it, and if this ending seems as if no effort was put into it, then readers will be disappointed in how their favorite characters’ stories end
5. Leave something to the imagination
Endings in which everything is spelled out for readers can be boring because excitement and suspense have already happened. If everything works out perfectly, then why did they spend so much time reading about it?
Readers want there to be still some mystery surrounding what happens when they finish a book; if every ending trope that you can think of ends up happening, then it’s going to feel like you didn’t do your best when ending the story.
Many stories end so that certain things are left unexplained, and readers have to use their imaginations about what happens next for these characters. This allows them to form an ending in their minds based on how they imagined this ending while they were reading the book.
For example, some stories end with the main character dying but leave readers wondering what happens to their family on earth. While it is important for endings to make sense and not be full of loose ends, leaving something up to your reader’s imagination can help them feel more satisfied when finishing a story.
Literary fiction is known for ending with a lot of ambiguity because there are no specific answers to be found, but instead, readers have to come up with their conclusions.
6. Don’t be afraid to kill off characters
Does your ending not quite know how to come together? Consider killing some of the more unimportant characters, even if it doesn’t seem like there is any reason for them to die. This way, you can set up an ending that makes sense and give one or two important character(s) a chance at a happy ending.
If you don’t want to kill off any characters, ending your story where it seems as some of the more important and beloved ones might die can also work. This leaves a sense of tension for readers and makes them wonder how things will possibly turn out well in this ending scenario.
7. Include a twist ending
The most unexpected ending you could have for your story is one in which everything turns out as expected. To surprise readers and keep them on their toes, throwing in an ending with a twist will leave the best impression possible when they finish reading your book.
This kind of ending can be difficult to write because it requires a lot of foreshadowing to make it feel like a truly unexpected ending. However, once readers see how everything fits together, they will recognize all of the clues you left for them and appreciate that ending even more because it was harder to write than expected.
8. Try ending the story with a quote
Some of the most memorable stories end in an interesting way that leaves readers thinking about what they just read. This includes ending your book by including a famous or inspirational quote summarizing how you feel about it.
For example, ending a story with “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get” from the movie Forest Gump can help sum up how unpredictable life is and ending it in such an interesting way.
This kind of ending helps readers remember your book, and they may even go back to re-read certain quotes or lines because they feel like their ending was so well-written.
Ending a story with a quote can also make it easier to leave something up to the reader’s imagination, which is one of the most important things you should keep in mind when writing an ending that will help readers remember your book for years to come.
Writing fiction is not easy, but the ending is one of the most important parts to have a truly memorable story that readers will be excited about.
9. Include an ending that is similar to the beginning
An ending trope you should consider including in your story is where everything goes back to how it started. This kind of ending can help readers feel like they are coming full circle and going back to a familiar place, which helps them feel satisfied after reading about all of these new things that happened to the characters.
For example, ending a story with everything returning to normal can help readers feel like they are getting some sense of closure even though it is only fiction and not real life. Readers will appreciate this ending because it leaves them feeling like things have been put into perspective by being reminded of how they started.
These tips can help you write a great ending for your story that readers will love and remember for years to come. By bringing some or all of these ending tropes into your book, you can make sure there is something memorable about every ending, so people continue reading books by this author in the future as well!
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