What Endings Should Do

I borrowed this list from chapter eight (Forms and Structures) of Writing Fiction: Creative and Critical Approaches by Amanda Boulter.

What endings should do:

  1. Bring the struggle to its dramatic conclusion
  2. Bring the main plot and the sub-plots together (if they have not converged already)
  3. Make the resolution of the hero/ine’s struggle emotionally intense
  4. Show the character has grown (in a novel)
  5. Include a short final scene/chapter after the climax (in a novel) to show the characters settle back into their life.

Questions to ask:

  1. Have you left loose threads – characters abandoned or plot lines inappropriately unresolved?
  2. Does the ending ‘fit’ the implicit promise and worldview of the story?
  3. What kind of closure does the ending achieve?
  4. If the ending is a surprise, has this ending been foreshadowed within the story or is it just a convenient accident?

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