How To Check If Your Ending Suits Your Genre

How To Check If Your Story Ending Suits Your Genre


In this post, we discuss how you can check if your story ending suits your genre.

How will your story end?

Will someone die? Will your heroine walk away from a bad relationship? More importantly, is your ending consistent with the genre you’ve chosen?

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Find out more about our workbooks and online courses in our shop.

 by Anthony Ehlers

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. How A Believable Theme Builds A Believable Plot
  2. The Art Of Critique: Five Ways To Brand Your Book Reviews
  3. 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.

This article has 0 comments

  1. mccart

    hi

  2. Danielle

    These questions would help me push through and write to the end. I’ll keep these in mind for this year’s NANOWRIMO.

  3. Anthony Ehlers

    I still need to do Nano, Danielle. It looks like a lot of fun – but I guess you need stamina too.

  4. Danielle

    Anthony, It’s actually only about 1000 words per day when you do it. 🙂

  5. Donna Radley

    Great post, Anthony!

  6. Sudo

    Actually, a NaNoWriMo novel is 1,666.6(continuous) words per day. As someone who has succeeded at it twice (competed three times), I can say that the stamina is very difficult to find especially if you fall behind in your word count. I would also say that it can very quickly turn into your Worst First Draft Ever. It would do well to plan your novel carefully first.

    I have settled down now and decided that I would rather write at my own pace and produce a first draft that isn’t a bunch of broken tatters. But, NaNoWriMo really does work for some people, so it’s definitely something you should try once, as a writer.

  7. Anthony Ehlers

    Thanks, Sudo. I tried in 2010, but ended up with Worst First Draft Ever – just as you mentioned. I’m thinking of doing it this year, but will plan carefully before I start.

  8. Rich

    This is where “the hard yards start”?

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