I don’t care how many writing tips you’ve read or even if you are the self-professed “Queen of Endings.” The last chapter in a novel is ridiculously hard to write, no matter who you are.
I tackled the ending for Alex in Wunderstrande: The Clairvoyance Clock this week, wrapping up a year of re-writes. Of course, the moment was drenched in bittersweet emotion, but unfortunately, even that did not outweigh the feeling of disappointment with how it turned out.
One. Two. Three drafts of the last chapter went by, and I still questioned its ability to end the story effectively. While I’m still going back and forth on the last line, I think I’ve got it figured out. For now. 😉
Just in case you happen to be stuck on your own ending, here’s some tips to get you through the valley:
Don’t sweat the re-writes
A last chapter is rarely ever perfect the first time around. Don’t worry if you spend more time on your ending than you do your beginning. After all, the ending is what you want people to remember most.
If you can, plan your ending in advance
When you know how your story is going to end before it ends, it makes your narrative that much stronger. Why? Two words: character development.
Tie up loose ends, but give your audience something to yearn for
I’m a big believer in that writers should have the major plot and/or sub-plots resolved, but I’m also obsessed with cliffhangers. If your story is a series, leave one or two things open-ended to encourage readers to pick up the next one. This can be a tricky thing to do as it could frustrate readers, depending on the amount of narrative you keep from them. However, you know your story better than anyone.
Give your readers something to think/cry/laugh about
What are the major lessons your character has learned? How have they changed from the beginning of the story? Really hit home on this, driving the character into beautiful moments of deep, thought-provoking considerations.
And with that, I leave you to your own endings. Good luck!