A few weeks ago, I wrote about starting a story and what makes a good opening for a story. Now I’m going to talk about the ending for a story because a good beginning, or opening, is not enough you also need a good ending. I like my characters to get what they want at the end of the book, but that isn’t necessarily the best ending for the story. The ending really needs to fit the story. It can’t be rushed either. Finding the right ending is not always easy. If it isn’t quite right for the story, the reader will feel cheated. You do not want your reader to feel cheated.
The ending must follow the logic of the story. A criminal in a mystery isn’t going to spontaneously confess, unless you show that the criminal is stressed out during the story without letting on that the character is the criminal. The criminal must have a reason to confess. In other words, the ending just has to make sense for the story.
The last thing you want is for your reader to feel cheated at the end of the story. So you have to work towards your ending. Sometimes people write the ending first, so that they know where they are going in the story. Others write the story sequentially and get to the ending just as a reader would. Whichever way works for you is the way you should write your story.
Don’t think you can skimp on your ending either. Tie up all the loose ends or your readers will notice and become annoyed. They won’t read your work again, if you consistently disappoint them. There’s a saying that if there is a gun on the mantelpiece in the first act, it had better be fired before the third act. That’s what I’m talking about. The reader is going to look for details in the story that will either point to the ending or resolve before the ending as irrelevant. Make sure that your story ends with everything neatly concluded, unless you plan on doing a serial story. Then you could have a cliffhanger, but that’s the only time you can leave something unresolved.
When winding up your story, remember, the ending has to be logical within the confines of the story. It simply has to make sense. It also has to release all the tension and suspense that you built up in the story. Make sure that you have answered all the questions in the story as you go along. Make a list of the questions your story asks and make sure the ending includes all the answers to all the questions. If you can do that, you will have a good ending for your story.