How to write an ending that's at least as good as your lead

Endings, endings, endings. Sentences have endings. So do paragraphs. So do chapters. And hopefully, so does your story.

The ending of your story may say to the reader, "I decided to stop writing here." But if you have the readers' needs in mind, you want your ending to be more than that. If your story is short, you want your ending to "stick the landing," the way a great gymnast completes a volt.

If your story is long, your ending should serve as a reward to your reader for following you to that destination.

Don't you remember that movie you saw that had the terrible ending? Remember how you and your friends grumbled as you left the theatre? Don't make your readers grumble when they finish your story. Make them laugh, cry, cheer, write a note to their mothers. All accomplished with a great ending.

In this week's writing chat, I talked about all of this and offer related tips. You can replay this chat at any time.

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    Roy Peter Clark

    Roy Peter Clark has taught writing at Poynter to students of all ages since 1979. He has served the Institute as its first full-time faculty member, dean, vice-president, and senior scholar.


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