We’ve talked about the inciting incident, and the climax in our plotting process. Now it’s time to consider the ending.
Endings can be tricky. Endings should be gratifying and fulfilling for your reader. After all, the reader has invested their time into reading your ENTIRE book and unhappy readers are not good for writers. Make your readers happy. Think about your ending.
Endings also should:
- Make sense when considered with the beginning chapter and the climax chapter.
- Evoke emotions for the reader
- Bring the main character to the expected destination according to their goals and motivations set forth at the beginning
- Highlight the character arc (how the character changed over the course of the book)
- Resolve the conflict that your character has been dealing with
- Wrap up all the loose ends
Don’t be surprised if after you write the ending, you find that you need to go back and revise the beginning, and/or the climax. Each of these parts (beginning, climax, ending) should work together cohesively. If you work these out before you do any other writing, you help to ensure that your book makes sense according to the genre of the book.
It might help to read your beginning, climax, and ending one after the other and ask yourself some questions:
- Do these all work well together?
- Do they feel cohesive?
- Does it seem like something is missing or out of place?
- Does the ending resolve what was started at the beginning?
- What could I add to ensure that the reader has an emotional response when they read the ending?
Once you know your beginning, climax, and ending, it will help you write the remainder of the book (more on that next time) because you will know exactly where your story is going and you won’t waste any time writing chapters and tangents trying to figure out how to end your book.
Another thing to remember about endings is that nothing follows the end. Even if you are writing a series, each book should have its own beginning, middle, and ending. There may be an overarching plot element that is carried through multiple books, but THIS book, this one book that you are plotting right now, needs to stand on its own as a complete story.