We are posting a series of Essential Writing Exercises to help you tell your stories. This post includes three essential exercises for writing endings.

3 Essential Exercises For Writing Endings


We are posting a series of Essential Writing Exercises to help you tell your stories. This post includes three essential exercises for writing endings.

On our course, Writers Write ONLINE, we spend time creating characters, plotting, learning to write dialogue, learning how to pace, and learning how to show and not tell. We teach you about viewpoint, setting, description, and scenes, and much, much more. In my series, I am going to concentrate on a few of these areas.

To help us get through this time of social distancing, I am going to post a series of Essential Writing Exercises to help you tell your stories. We’ve included exercises about dialoguecreating characters, viewpoint, plottingsettingpacing, and beginnings.

This week I have included three essential exercises for writing endings.

3 Essential Exercises For Writing Endings

When we teach Writers Write ONLINE, we find that knowing how and when to end a book can be challenging for many writers.

Mickey Spillane said, ‘Nobody reads a book to get to the middle.’ He was correct. Everybody wants to know how they story ends.

Some writers end too soon, but most of us write on for a chapter or two after where the ending should be. Once we have tied up the main plot and the sub-plot, it’s time to end the book. Once our protagonist has achieved their story goal, it’s time to wrap up our story.

Our endings should answer the questions we asked at the beginning of your book. They should also end with the mood and the tone required for the genre.

MUST-READ: The 5 Essential Elements Of A Perfect Ending

To help you end your story, try our three essential exercises for writing endings.

Exercise 1: End The Story

Look at the first exercise you completed on beginnings in our previous post: 3 Essential Exercises For Writing Beginnings. Then write a scene that ends the story you started there. The ending must answer the conflict or question that started the story. Have you made good on your promise?

Remember:

  1. Name the character/s.
  2. Use the five sensesdialoguebody language, and the internal thoughts of the viewpoint character.
  3. Show the setting through their interaction with it.

This exercise will help you to tie up beginnings and endings in stories.

READ: How To Write A Beginning And An Ending That Readers Will Never Forget

Exercise 2: Choose Your Ending

There Are Five Basic Endings:

  1. The protagonist wins.
  2. The protagonist loses.
  3. We don’t know if the protagonist wins or loses.
  4. The protagonist wins, but at a moral cost.
  5. The protagonist loses, but with a moral gain.

Readers of commercial fiction prefer endings 1, 4, and 5. Readers of literary fiction prefer endings 2 and 3.

Write a scene that ends a story you’ve been working on. Choose one of the endings that suits the genre you have chosen to write in.

  1. Name the character/s.
  2. Use the five sensesdialoguebody language, and the internal thoughts of the viewpoint character.
  3. Show the setting through their interaction with it.

READ: What’s The Difference Between A Commercial And A Literary Plot?

Exercise 3: Epilogue

An epilogue is acceptable if it is brief and resolves an unanswered question. It should explain something that shows the reader an event or outcome that was impossible to show in the main story.

Write an epilogue for the story you ended in Exercise 1. It should be no more than half a page.

  1. Name the characters.
  2. Use the five sensesdialoguebody language, and the internal thoughts of the viewpoint character.
  3. Show the setting through their interaction with it.

This exercise will show you if you need an epilogue for your story.

The Last Word

Use these three essential exercises for writing endings to leave your readers wanting more.

Join us for Writers Write ONLINE for many more exercises like this (with feedback), and learn how to write a book.

© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this blogger’s writing, read:

  1. 3 Essential Exercises For Writing Beginnings
  2. Why You Need Surprises In Stories
  3. 7 Tips From Journalists To Write A Better Memoir
  4. What Is Flash Fiction & Why Should I Write It?
  5. 3 Essential Exercises For Viewpoint

Top Tip: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.