As I was adding to the short story I published here to my site yesterday, I was looking for advice, and trying to find a suitable ending before I submit today. I had to remind myself what a final ending should do for my readers
- The story ending forms a readers’ final impression of what they have read.
- An effective ending seals the readers’ satisfaction with my piece.
- It leaves them thinking and maybe talking about it long after they have finished reading.
- The story ending can either be happy or sad; it can leave the reader uplifted or pensive, even heartbroken. BUT it has to feel right!
I understand there are no black and white rules to follow, but there are a few helpful guidelines to help us write endings that will make our readers want to come back for more.
- Make sure our conflict in the story is a problem that the main character has to solve.
Ex. Cinderella wants to go to the ball, but her stepmother wants to keep her scrubbing floors at home.
Ex. Rosa loves John, but John loves Amy.
Our reader keeps reading to find out if the character will solve the problem.
Ex. Will Rosa make John fall in love with her? OR Will John marry Amy?
Our original story conflict gives readers a reason to turn the pages. At the end, the reader expects a payoff! Our story has raised a question, and the reader deserves an answer.
As you write your story, keep this in mind. You are working towards giving your reader a PAYOFF, answer their question.