Typically, the beginning of a novel sets the stage for the drama to unfold, drawing the reader in. On the other hand, the story’s ending leaves the reader satisfied with what happened to the characters as its storyline reaches its resolution. Knowing how to end a story is critical to your long-term success as a writer and storyteller.
However, before we look at some basic tips to write a satisfying story ending, we must first look at the elements involved in the story ending writing process.
4 Key Components of An Excellent Story Ending
A sensational ending in literary fiction has particular components that leave your readers at the edge of their seats and satisfied with what you delivered. These include:
Readers are usually entertained by following the story of a character, and there is a sense of surprise in satisfying endings. A wonderful story will fall flat if the end is predictable.
A story’s ending can be made interesting if there’s a moment when the main character might fail. Such last-minute tension turns the entire conclusion on its heads, making it more satisfying when the protagonist overcomes the obstacles placed in his or her path.
A satisfying story ending should be able to bring a solid close to your protagonists’ development. They have learned valuable lessons during the story, and the ending should clearly show their transformation.
Lastly, an exceptional story ending should resolve and wrap up the main conflict you’ve laid out at the beginning of the story. Your readers must walk away satisfied, feeling that the story is complete.
How Do You Write a Satisfying Story Ending?
One of the most critical aspects of writing and storytelling is knowing how to end your story. While writing chapter after chapter might seem easy for you, writing story endings requires hard work and creativity, especially if you’ve just started writing books. So, follow these writing guidelines when trying to figure out how your protagonist’s journey ends:
Ensure the Story Ending Resolves the Storyline
Write a compelling story ending that ties up all the loose ends in your story and gives the reader a sense of closure. Resolve all elements you’ve introduced throughout your story, including your protagonist’s mission as well as your supporting characters’ arcs and subplots. In fact, all of this must be resolved before the main storyline’s ending.
Furthermore, ensure that there are no gaps in your story, and remember to tie up any loose ends that may have lingered in the reader’s mind. Finally, ensure your story arc has the reader’s attention until the very last page, and the reader is content with where you’ve left the protagonist. There are several well-known examples to consider for resolved story endings, like Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series.
Ensure That the Story Ending Makes Complete Sense
Whether you’re writing science fiction or a romance novel, your story’s conclusion must be the outcome of a logical evolution in the plot and your characters’ choices. For instance, Greek playwrights often utilized a technique known as deus ex machina. It is a Latin term meaning “god from a machine,” and playwrights would use it to show a god swooping in and resolving the story.
However, avoid employing this procedure if possible. Your readers are invested in your story and want to know that the characters reached the conclusion you’ve written through their own efforts.
Leave In Some Much-Needed Room for Interpretation
Cliffhangers are excellent for ending chapters, but your characters’ objectives should be resolved at the end of a standalone story. If your book is part of a chronological series, though, it’s fine to leave some open space for the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks.
In J.K. Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry defeats his nemesis, Professor Quirrell, in the end. But, as long as Lord Voldemort exists, the reader knows something bigger is coming. Rowling effectively teases readers about her next book in the ending here.
Try Different Story Endings
Plan out your character’s journey and the various ways the story could end as you outline your plot. What feelings are evoked by each possibility? For example, your character might go right back to the beginning and return to his or her previous life.
Furthermore, you can even add a twist to the ending. For example, you can steer the plot in one direction, then backtrack—the unwary readers will realize that hints were right in front of their eyes the whole time. For example, if you’re writing a thriller, hint at a particular suspect. You can then reveal the killer as someone who had been hiding in plain sight. Dan Brown’s The Digital Fortress uses this technique effectively. The techno-thriller showcases Trevor Strathmore as the good guy even though he was the one who hired a hitman to kill Ensei Tankado and then David Becker.
As you can see, there are various ways to write a satisfying story ending! However, whatever method you choose to end your story, keep one thing in mind: remember the plot that came before your story and give it the ending it deserves, not the one you think your readers expect. Follow this, and you will leave your readers satisfied. Furthermore, if you feel you cannot write a satisfying story ending yourself, we at Edit911 have you covered with our excellent book and novel editing services. So, get in touch with us today!