Nancy's Books

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Story Endings, Calls for Submissions

A teacher in Virginia (Hello, Jennifer) who follows this blog, requested information about story endings/conclusions, so the next two blogs will address endings.

A good ending makes a story come full circle. The ending should reflect and resolve the problem or goal developed at the beginning of the story. When I conduct writing workshops with students, I encourage them to end the story with a zinger. I define a zinger as an ending that zings the reader so s/he is
1. surprised. A twist or unexpected ending enhances the overall story.
2. provoked, to think about the story more. Does the ending leave the reader satisfied?
3. feeling strong emotional attachments to the story and characters.

In this case, what works for student writers also works for professionals. Reread the story and ask yourself if the ending is a zinger. If not, think about how the ending can be rewritten to become a zinger. I like surprise endings, because they make great zingers. Humorous ending make the reader laugh. Those work well, too.

Here are more questions the writer can ask:
1. Does the ending surprise the reader?
2. Will the reader be provoked to think about the story after reading it?
3. How will the story touch the reader emotionally? Will the reader care at all? Laugh? Cry?
4. Are all ends tied up? This means that unresolved problems have been dealt with.

Next week, I’ll discuss things to avoid in writing endings.

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