As a writer, you can work diligently to create an exciting story with intriguing characters and unexpected plot twists. Then you get to the end, and it all falls apart. Writing a strong story ending can sometimes be the most challenging part of the story creation process. Next time you are having trouble ending a story, try choosing from one of the following ideas for a memorable ending.
Return to the Beginning
A classic way to end a story, whether it be flash fiction or a full-length novel, is to circle back to the beginning. You can do this by referencing the opening scene or even by repeating the very line the story began with. You might even remind readers of the pervading story theme that was introduced at the beginning. However you choose to do it, returning to the beginning brings the story full circle and gives readers a sense of closure.
Surprise endings are always fun. Just when readers think they know how everything will turn out, you hit them with the unexpected. Perhaps the main character is choosing between two options and ends up selecting a third unexpected option. Keep in mind that the twist at the end should still be a reasonable outcome for your story. In other words, the surprise ending should fit the story and not be so far out there that readers are disappointed. The ending should leave readers pleasantly surprised.
An ambiguous ending is a great way to keep readers thinking about your story long after they have finished reading. An ending that is ambiguous might be interpreted in different ways by each reader. For instance, at the end of the drama miniseries, “The Missing,” fans are left wondering if Oliver, the missing boy, is really alive and living in another country or if his father has simply gone mad with determination to find the boy despite evidence that he is no longer alive. Viewers are left to decide what happened.
Words of Wisdom
Another way to give your readers something to hold onto long after they have finished reading the book is to end the story with words of wisdom. When you give them a nugget of truth, whether about life or themselves, they have something to ponder. Your story will have made them think. Just be sure the wise words you impart relate to your story’s theme in some way.
Story writers always look for a way to hook readers right from the beginning. Readers do not want to be disappointed with an unsatisfying ending, though. Give them a good one by using one of the ideas described here.