In this post, we discuss how you can check if your story ending suits your genre.
How will your story end?
I discovered a quick way to test your plot and put in forces that will make it stronger. It shows you what has successfully worked for other stories in your chosen genre and what could work for yours.
Say you’re writing a disaster or catastrophe story. Have a look at what happens in your favourite catastrophe films — and isolate what happens at the end.
(Warning: spoiler alert)
5 Examples To Check If The Ending Suits The Disaster Genre
Titanic. After the doomed ship sinks, poor artist Jack dies in the icy water to allow upper class Kate to stay alive on a floating door. His self-sacrifice allows her heart to go on.
Twister. Jo and Bill survive the final deadly tornado and prove that their research device is successful – they also manage to repair their estranged marriage.
The Poseidon Adventure. A minister, Scott — who believes God helps those who help themselves — sacrifices his own life by keeping a valve door open to allow the remaining six survivors to escape the capsized ocean liner.
Outbreak. Sam manages to stop a disease-infected town from being bombed by an obsessed army Major – he averts a mass-scale tragedy. He also reconciles with his ex-wife.
Armageddon. Astronaut Harry stays behind on a space mission to detonate a bomb to destroy an asteroid on a collision course with earth. Before he dies, he gives another young astronaut his blessing to marry his daughter.
What pattern emerges?
Immediately, you’ll spot some similarities between these movies that you can use to help your own story.
Firstly, it seems that the theme of self-sacrifice seems to be used a lot in catastrophe stories. Is it possible to have one of your main characters give his own life to save others?
Secondly, it seems that a love story is a popular sub-plot in this genre. Is your love interest playing a big enough role in the story? Have you created a relationship storyline that will balance out the action of the main storyline?
In any genre
Do this exercise for your genre. Choose five movies in that genre. Write down the storyline and the ending. Is your ending similar to these?
Avoiding the cliché
Of course, you don’t want to create a weak copy of a famous storyline or fall into a clichéd denouement, but keep in mind — these endings are used because they work. This is where the hard yards start. Now you have to find a way to make your final story points stronger, fresher, and more surprising. This is where you brainstorm, throw ideas around, sweat and pray into the early hours of the morning — until you have what works for your story!
Top Tip: You can do this exercise with other elements of the movies you choose — like the beginning or middle of a movie, or even the themes and types of characters.
If you enjoyed this post, read:
- How A Believable Theme Builds A Believable Plot
- The Art Of Critique: Five Ways To Brand Your Book Reviews
- Why Is This Day Different? Knowing When To Start Your Story
TOP TIP: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.