These are the (unofficial) rules about story endings that all writers know or should know. We follow these rules to ensure a great ending to our story in the hopes that readers will stick around for the next book in the series, come back to read our next standalone title, or even pick up one of our backlisted ones.
Why Endings are Important.
The end of any book is important. The end is the last impression the reader has of our stories. It's the part of the story that is the freshest in their mind and which they rate and judge the book as a whole. A great ending is hard to write but necessary to attempt.
Although I know what makes a great ending I still struggle to execute it at times. I obsess over it, trying to perfect it.
Makings of a Great Story Ending:
- Twists and surprise endings: Surprising the reader with a revelation that was foreshadowed throughout the story. i.e. It was right under their noses the whole time.
- Theme: Tying in the overall theme or message of the book into the ending to add extra significance.
- Answer the major story question: Will they fall in love? Will they find the murderer? Will they ever learn to trust one another?
- Character change and growth: The main characters must begin the story a certain person and by the end of the story the character is a changed man or woman. The events in the story, the obstacles, the triumphs and failures all mold the character into a different person by the end.
- End at the end: Once the major story questions are answered and the character achieves the story goal then the story is over. Ending the story before questions are answered and characters change or long after can disappoint the reader.
Currently I attempt to rewrite the ending of my latest WIP and hope it all falls into place. Knowing how to write the perfect ending to your story doesn't make it any less complicated, in my opinion. However, my motto is: If it's too easy, you ain't doing it right.