Advice from The Archives: What Makes a Satisfying Ending?

This week, we’ve got tips from New Voices 2011 on how to write the ultimate satisfying, emotional ending to your story!

We’re about to answer the big question that we’re sure is on everyone’s lips—how do you write a powerful ending that stays with your readers for a long time? Well, never fear, here are our few sneaky tips for achieving those happily-ever-afters that last a lifetime:

Be creative

We know that it’s hard to avoid happily-ever-after clichés and there’s certainly nothing wrong with a fairytale wedding or a baby bump, but think of what new twist or spin you can put on these tropes. For example maybe your hero and heroine get their happy family by adopting or may be your heroine is the one who proposes!

Your ending should belong to your characters

Make sure that it grows organically out of who your characters are. As you write, keep asking yourself what the characters want most in the world, why they want it, and what’s stopping them from achieving it. These questions should help with all aspects of the plot and in turn lead you towards the right ending for your story.

No shock twists for the sake of it!

When talking about how to end a murder mystery, classic crime author Raymond Chandler said, “The solution, once revealed, must seem to have been inevitable.”  The same can be said for romance. Even though you want to surprise your readers, plant the seeds of your ending early, so that when people re-read your fab story they will be able to see that, of course, although fresh and original, this was the ending these characters were always heading towards.

Tie up all the loose ends

Make sure you keep track of even the smallest sub-plot aspect, and that you resolve them. For example you can’t have a secondary character go for a walk around the ground of your hero’s stately home and never come back!

Resolve the central conflict

Most importantly, your hero and heroine must face up to and overcome their internal conflicts by the time you reach the climax of the story. A damaged hero who still hasn’t learnt how to let the heroine into his guarded heart by the final page will have readers throwing your book at the wall. Characters need to learn and grow over the course of the story, so only once your hero and heroine have both done this, are you ready to type those immortal words…THE END!

So there you have it—our top tips for writing a powerful ending. Now there’s no excuse to put off adding that fabulous final scene to your work in progress!