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6 Ways to End Your Story
With NaNoWriMo now in its final week, I thought it would be a good time to talk about endings. Here are six common ending types:
- Resolved: All conflicts and story threads are tied up and concluded neatly. It’s satisfying for readers, and ususally denotes a singular book or the last in a series.
- Unresolved: Conflicts are left open, storylines left unfinished. Readers don’t know what happens to all of the characters. It leaves the reader to create or ponder their own endings. It often denotes that there will be more books to follow.
- Implied: The ending is not made clear and is left to interpretation by the reader. While some readers will enjoy the puzzle, others may be left confused.
- Twist: The ending is completely unexpected and turns the whole story on its head, often revealing that an assumed truth throughout the story was actually false.
- Tie-Back: The ending ties right back to the beginning; using the same dialogue, description, setting or idea. It creates a feeling of balance and completeness.
- Crystal Ball: The ending explains what happens to the characters in the future; a significant time-frame after the ending of the story itself.
How to End Your Story
Basically, there are two states you can leave your world in at the end of your story:
- A return to the status quo established at the beginning
- The establishment of a new status quo
If you opt for No.1 remember that, although your world returns to how it was before, your characters will have changed. They will be braver than they were, more daring. They will have fallen in love, or out of it. Had their heart broken or lost limbs. They may have lost friends along the way, or made new ones. A return to the previous status quo acts as a way to emphasise the changes in your characters.
If you opt for No.2 the new status quo will be a direct result of what has happened through the story. Your kingdom will have a new King or Queen, whether literally or metaphorically. Your world may be in a new ice age, humans may have abandoned the planet, nature taken the world back, everyone may have died. There may be hope for the future, or there may be none.