Like an open bookshelf, your story needs “bookends”—a solid beginning and ending.
We all know how important it is to hook your reader from the first page, but what happens when you’ve hooked them in, but have a less than satisfying ending. It’s likely that the reader will not pick up your next book.
I personally find endings much more difficult to write than beginnings. Like many writers, by the time I get to the end, I just want to be done. A great ending is revealed through the revision process. When revising your manuscript, here are some ideas to consider when working on the end of your story.
- Did you answer all your reader’s questions? If you are writing a sequel some questions can be left for the next book, but even then, readers want answers to the major questions.
- Did you resolve the conflict in a satisfying way? Having a great build-up in the climax of your story but a less than complete resolution is never satisfying to the reader.
- If you are planning to surprise your reader with your ending, make sure it fits and doesn’t seem gimmicky.
- Think about the take-away of the book. Not every story has a moral, but every story leaves the reader with an idea or feeling.
After considering the above suggestions, if you are still struggling with your ending, put your story to bed for a while. I had a manuscript that I had revised and revised and revised. It seemed ready, but I didn’t like the last line. I put it away and picked it up nine months later. With the perspective of time, I came up with what I believe is the perfect last line.
Sometimes endings just need a little time .
Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life coach. For more information check out