So, you’ve written most of your book and have 10 000 words left to do. What are some of the do’s and don’ts of ending your story? How can you make sure not to disappoint your readers with a boring ending or one that doesn’t leave them with the feeling that they want more?
Here are some do’s and don’ts as supplied by Writers Digest.
DON’T INTRODUCE ANY NEW CHARACTERS OR SUBPLOTS.
Don’t introduce anything new. Any appearances within the last fifty pages should have been foreshadowed earlier, even if mysteriously. What this means: If you bring in a new character this late, your audience will feel cheated, as if you’ve been holding back important information for a cheap surprise. They want clues throughout the novel so that way, even if they couldn’t solve it early, they can look back and say “Oh yeah, now that makes sense.”
DON’T DESCRIBE, MUSE, EXPLAIN, OR PHILOSOPHIZE.
In other words, keep the author out of the story, and don’t let it drag. By this point in the story, setup is done, complication is wrapping up, and resolution should be entirely uncluttered so you and the reader can make an unimpeded dash to the finish line. Keep description to a minimum, action and conflict to the max.
What this means: No long details about the setting or sudden dishing about backstory. This is what your story is all about. Your protagonist has sacrificed and made wrong turns to get to this moment. Make these pages as fast-paced as possible.
DO CREATE THAT SENSE OF OH, WOW!
Once or twice on every page, if possible, more frequently.
What this means: Stories that play out “Then this happened. Then this happened. Then this happened.” in the final moments aren’t memorable. It’s better to put in an “But unexpectedly …” as the final chapters close up your story, especially if it ties up moments you’ve foreshadowed earlier in your novel.
DO ENMESH YOUR READER DEEPLY IN THE OUTCOME OF YOUR STORY.
Make her unable to put down your novel to go to bed, to work, or even to the bathroom until she sees how it turns out.
What this means: Like in sports, the most captivating part is the final minutes or innings of a close game. You can’t take your eyes off of it because you not only want to know the outcome, you feel like you need to know the outcome—and you need to know it immediately. Think of your ending in those terms.
For the full article, you can go to Writers Digest and if you supply them with your email address, they will send you the free eBook on the subject.
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