The Sense Of An Ending - How to end a book

The Sense Of An Ending – How To End Your Book

The beginning of a book is a promise to your reader. The middle is a marathon. In this post, we write about how to end your book.

People watch sport to be entertained and to see who wins and loses. What they dislike is a draw. Readers are the same. They definitely want the sense of an ending.

Readers of commercial fiction want to see a winner at the end. Readers of literary fiction are prepared to accept more ambiguity. Whatever the genre, the ending must be powerful.

The Sense Of An Ending – How To End Your Book

Great endings leave the reader satisfied, even if the rest of the book is weak. Weak endings leave the reader disappointed, even if the book was good.

Most of us can write a good beginning. The middle is the most difficult part of a book, but a good ending is essential.

A great ending always:

  1. Completes your story arc.
  2. Shows a change in your main character.
  3. Satisfies your reader.

Sometimes the best stories are the ones that leave you guessing, so don’t be afraid to create some mystery in your conclusion. However, you should make sure the story feels as if it is finished.

You should not work in an artificial twist, or a surprise, in the end, unless the story justifies it. Try not to force the story in a direction. Decide what could or should be the most logical and natural outcome, given the personalities of the characters involved. Do not make them do things they would not naturally do.

The goal is to write a story that leaves your reader looking for your name at the end.

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.

You should decide which ending best suits your story.

Suggested reading: The 5 Essential Elements Of A Perfect Ending

by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. How To Write A Beginning And An Ending That Readers Will Never Forget
  2. What Is A Denouement?
  3. 7 Extremely Good Reasons To Write The Ending First
  4. The Importance Of Inciting Moments
  5. The Two Types Of Inciting Moments

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Posted on: 3rd December 2013

0 thoughts on “The Sense Of An Ending – How To End Your Book”

  1. Marietjie Wentzel

    Hi Amanda, you post so many valuable tips and useful information. Will you mind if I translate it into Afrikaans and share it with my friends? I will always indicate you/Writers Write as the source of information should you give consent.

  2. National Lampoon magazine always recommended having a big truck come around the corner and run over everybody. 😉