How do you find the end?

Dear Fellow Journalers,

While your opening sentence grabs the readers’ attention and makes them want to keep reading your story, your ending paragraphs  or sentences give the summation of the story and the satisfactory aspects you want the reader to take into their lives.

Just as you struggle with that pesky first sentence, the last sentence depends on the way you’re feeling about your story/novel. Some writers are “fed up” with their novel – they want it to end now! Some writers have grown to love their characters and don’t want the story to end. One interesting aspect is that you may have written the final sentence already. How do you find the end?

  1. Re-read your draft and think about the structure of the story. Where is the sentence that solves the conflict, the climax has been reached, the heroine solves the mystery or realized that she really does love ____. End the story after that sentence.

  2. Think of your story as a series of questions and answers. Your narrator supplies the questions and in some cases the answers. When you’ve supplied all the answers, end the story.

3.  End your story on a note of hope for the future of your characters.

4.  Your last lines should teach a lesson, leave a memorable image or a satisfying sigh “Oh I just love this book!”

5.  Suppose you want to write a sequel, your last lines should make the reader want to buy/borrow your next book. The main character becomes estranged, the love triangle shatters, the roof falls……….

The following are some endings of books I have read:

“Life is not a sprint. It was never meant to be. It is just one step of faith at a time.” A step of Faith  by Richard Paul Evans

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far far better rest that I go to than I have known.” A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

” Hope,” I say, “once upon a time there was a girl who loved the stars so much she took a ride on a rocket ship.” The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

and finally the beginning of the last paragraph of The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Arthur Conan Doyle:

“It is a formidable difficulty, and I fear that you ask too much when you expect me to solve it. The past and the present are within the field of my inquiry, but what a man may do in the future is a hard question to answer.”

‘Til next time,


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