A good book is not just about the beginning – it’s also about the ending. Once a reader finishes a book, it’s often the ending that resonates most strongly. How you end your story will color every thought your readers will eventually form about your book once they put it down. Here are some tips that might help you craft a noteworthy and impressionable ending for your novel.
Most people decide whether or not to read a book based on the first few pages. However, a good book is not just about the beginning – it’s also about the ending. After all, once a reader finishes a book, it’s often the ending that resonates most strongly. So in some ways, the whole book is about the ending. And the way you end your story when writing a book can make all the difference between its success and failure.
A good ending resolves the problems and issues explored within a book’s storyline. On the other hand, a bad ending leaves a sour taste in the mouths of readers, completely skewing their opinion of what might have been a decent story. For this reason, you cannot afford to slack off as you approach the finale. Here are some tips that might help you craft a noteworthy and impressionable ending for your novel:
Do Not Cheat
Do not short change your finale. There is a point in the process of writing a book when the author stops leading, steps aside and simply allows the pieces of the story to begin falling into place. And even if you already had a predetermined finale before writing the first chapter, it doesn’t mean you have to remain faithful to it. In other words, don’t force your story to end on a note it hasn’t organically lead up to on its own. So be cautious when choosing to give dark tidings a bright spin by having everything suddenly end happily ever after; or unnaturally souring events that were obviously taking a more cheerful path. Let your story lead you and do not force your plot to end on a note that might be considered unnatural. Make sure that your ending follows the logic of your story.
Explosive finales are all well and good, but you must also make a point to inject some substance into your ending when writing a book. More than merely bringing things to a climax, your ending must bring the exploration of your book’s primary theme to an end. Go back and touch on those elements that have peppered your novel since the beginning. Give them some sort of conclusion. Do not leave readers wondering what it is you were trying to say. Make an effort to be definitive.
Bring It to an End
Your ending needs to actually end. A lot of authors get so caught up in setting up their sequels when writing a book that they forget to actually end their stories. Every book needs a beginning, middle and end (though there are exceptions). Your novel must tell a complete story from start to finish. Don’t just simply write “Act 1” of a multi-layered story, or at least try not to give your readers the impression you’ve done so. If your audience only ever reads that one book, choosing to shun its sequels, they should still be left feeling as though they have read a complete story.
Resolve the Central Conflict
When writing a book, your story is going to reach a crescendo – a peak of sorts in the action, drama and conflict of the story. Do not be tempted to end things here because it may not have the desired affect that you’re anticipating. Simply closing things after the climax would be too jarring. Cliffhangers of that kind don’t always work in novels – they tend to leave your book feeling incomplete. Once all the explosive drama dies down, something has to happen to bring the story to a slow and steady close. There should be some sort of resolution in this point of your novel that gives readers a chance to catch their breath and to think about the events of the climax.
The Unpredictable Element
The best endings aren’t predictable. Though endings do not necessarily need a plot twists to succeed, a plot twist can make your novel unforgettable. A finale becomes boring if readers know how things are going to play out. If you want to keep your readers engaged all the way through your story, you should consider making your ending unpredictable. And as an added tip, make sure you can back your plot twist up with some foreshadowing; otherwise, your attempt at unpredictability could sink your ending.
When writing a book, there are so many elements and facets to account for. And though the ending is one of the last considerations to make during the planning phase, it’s also one of the most important. How you end your story will color every thought your readers will eventually form about your book once they put it down. So make every effort to make your ending something they’ll never forget.