E=Endings

Endings are a struggle.

If you leave too many plot problems unresolved, then the ending doesn’t feel complete. But if you wrap up the story (complete with a neat little bow), the story doesn’t feel real. Striking that happy balance between significant resolution while leaving a few things undone is where I get on the struggle bus.

If I don’t wrap up all the issues my characters face, then I feel like I never come to the end. The story seems to keep dragging on. Yet, when I plan ahead and ensure that everything comes out alright, it feels like I should slap onto the end, “and they all lived happily ever after. The End.”

How do you find your ending? Do you plan ahead and type everything out toward that goal? Or does the ending suddenly sneak up on you without warning?

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10 thoughts on “E=Endings

  1. The ending has to do with the purpose of your piece. Think of the story, “The Lady or the Tiger” What is the ending? If the purpose is to promote discussion, maybe you want to have some loose pieces in your plot. If you are planning a sequel to your piece, maybe you don’t want it to be a clean cut ending. Most of the time though you probably do want balance, loose ends resolved and a feeling of completeness or else you risk losing the audience, such that they don’t want to come back.

  2. Endings are the hardest, hardest part for me. I know where I am going, but by the time I get there I’m tempted to rush so that I can be done. Big mistake. I have learned to step back, wait a little, and then be prepared for more words than I thought I’d need.

    Great post, Jennifer. Happy A to Z.

    Laura

  3. First of all, “struggle bus” is hilarious and a perfect visual. I just hate when the bus driver won’t let you off!
    I like to plan my endings, but they always are altered by the characters who have a mind of their own. They never cease to surprise me.
    Great post!
    ~JL

  4. I’d say that, even if you want a sequel, a novel, as we usually understand the form, requires a certain amount of resolution. You start the story with a question (Will the guy get the girl, for example) and by the end, we should feel like we accomplished something in regards to that question. Otherwise, the reader might very well feel like the reading was a waste of time.

  5. It depends on what I’m writing. Poems and short pieces tend to have endings that just sneak up on me; the place where I get the most emotional impact for the characters and the readers. For longer works, novels and such, I plan everything. If I don’t know where the ending will be, I could write the same story FOR. EV. ER.

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