I borrowed this list from chapter eight (Forms and Structures) of Writing Fiction: Creative and Critical Approaches by Amanda Boulter.
What endings should do:
- Bring the struggle to its dramatic conclusion
- Bring the main plot and the sub-plots together (if they have not converged already)
- Make the resolution of the hero/ine’s struggle emotionally intense
- Show the character has grown (in a novel)
- Include a short final scene/chapter after the climax (in a novel) to show the characters settle back into their life.
Questions to ask:
- Have you left loose threads – characters abandoned or plot lines inappropriately unresolved?
- Does the ending ‘fit’ the implicit promise and worldview of the story?
- What kind of closure does the ending achieve?
- If the ending is a surprise, has this ending been foreshadowed within the story or is it just a convenient accident?