This week: Different types of Story EndingsEdited by: Lonewolf
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Writing the perfect ending to a story does not have to be a challenge. The ending of a story or novel forms a readers' final impression of what they have read. An effective ending seals the readers' satisfaction with your piece. It leaves them thinking and maybe talking about it long after they have finished reading. A story ending can be either happy or sad; it can leave the reader uplifted, pensive or heartbroken. But it has to feel right.
A good ending won't save a bad story, but a bad ending will unfailingly kill a good story. The ending is why the reader just invested their valuable time reading your story, and if it stinks, then they've wasted that time. Your ending has to be good, or your story is doomed.
So, what do I mean by a Good Ending? Does every story have to end with Happily Ever After?
No. Of course not. Good does not necessarily mean happy. However, it should at least be satisfying. It should resolve the conflict, and tie up the main storyline and any secondary story-line's you had. The ending should grow organically out of the plot and the action of the story, not come out of left field at the reader, who can find no other justification for it than the whim of the author.
It is essential that you conclude your story with the same style, tone and flow youâve established throughout. For example, if the entire story features a series of high-impact, dramatic events and you end on a quiet note, your reader will be confused and disappointed.
There are different types of endings that youâll ultimately use in your stories. Here is a closer look at a few of the most common type of endings:
Explicit ending â This is the ending that wraps everything up and answers all the questions. This ending will frequently tell what happens to each of the major characters, and is usually very satisfying in its completeness. Particularly well suited for novels (over short stories), when using this ending, it is especially important to watch for plot holes and missing clues.
Implicit ending â If you like an ending that is strongly based on interpretation, then you like implicit endings. These endings are more common in short stories.
Twist ending â As the name implies, this ending is unexpected or twisted. As a writer, everything youâve led your reader to believe gets thrown out the window at the end, and is replaced by a new revelation when done well. If done poorly, your reader will feel cheated.
Tie back Ending â This ending ties everything right back to the beginning; using the same dialogue, descriptions, setting or idea. It creates a feeling of balance and completeness.The events of the story come full circle.
Unresolved ending â In unresolved endings, the main conflicts are left unanswered, and leaves the audience hanging to some extent. However, in this case, the author chooses a cliffhanger approach that could be a set up for a sequelâŚor not. It may be that the protagonist is faced with a choice at the end and you leave it up to your audience to decide his/her fate.
The After-the-Fact Endingâ Also known as the epilogue, this is a scene that is fully removed from the story in both setting and time frame. You may choose to revisit the characters weeks or months after the climaxâŚor a generation into the future when their children are fully grown. Either way, you must provide some insight into what has happened âin the meantimeâ to send your audience off on a high note. It should also be filled with the characterâs retrospective insights to provide a different perspective on the events that had occurred.
Excerpt of: The Debt
The street was deserted, just as Cass expected. Closing her jacket tightly and sidestepping the puddles left after the storm she hurried along the empty street toward her destination. It was well past midnight and drizzling on a thoroughly miserable November night. The few trees that still retained their leaves held them close to the ground, bowing to the ripping wind and cold sleets of rain. Even the moon was just a sliver of light, hiding in the folds of the dark and patchy sky. The light in the small convenience store shone like a beacon among lifeless houses, a welcome sight in the wake of the passing storm. She ducked under the awning just as a slight figure separated itself from the wall and launched at her.
"Thank God you are here!" Cass barely retained her balance as she strove to separate herself from the wet and shaking girl now clinging to her.
"Yes, I am here. What did you expect? You call me in the middle of the night, you are hysterical, and you want me to meet you in this godforsaken dump. Are you all right? What happened? And why are you here in the first place? You are blocks from your dorm."
The girl looked up at her friend and gave her a weepy smile, saying again, "You came."
Cass sighed with defeat. "I can't be mad at you. I think I'll just wait for you to regain your senses and calm down before I get an explanation. Come on, lets get out of this weather."
Half an hour later both were safely ensconced in Cass' warm living room, sipping hot chocolate.
"All right, Lina, spill it. What did you do this time?"
The younger girl flinched at her friend's words but she knew that once she related her trouble the words would only get worse.
~ ~ ~
Excerpt of: Angel's Heart
âDamon,â I breathe. There he is, standing outside my door, blocking me from going inâŚ gorgeous as everâŚ all six feet eight inches of him. I hate this man. I love this man. He has broken my heart so many times that Iâve lost count since the first time I met in six years ago. But my stupid heart canât seem to move beyond him. When he isnât leaving me to find greener pastures, he is so sweet, so attentive, and so, so loving. Iâve never had a better lover and I doubt that I ever will.
My eyes travel from his dusty Ropers up his long faded Wrangler clad legs, knowing full well that the back of his jeans house one of the finest asses ever in the history of man. Heâs wearing a form fitting tee-shirt that reads George Strait Always and Forever Tour and it shows his six pack, his stunning pecs and broad strong shoulders. He has a fine dusting of dark five oâclock shadow over his square chin with its small cleft. My eyes linger on his full lips, remembering the number of times heâs worshiped my body with them and my heart speeds up. His eyes are watching me intently, dark hazel and full of so many promises both past and future; broken and kept. It is all I can do to keep from moving to him and running my hands through his silky raven hair, a pastime I could happily engage in for the rest of my life.
~ ~ ~
Excerpt of: Hidden Depths of Fire and Love
Mamuke lay restlessly in bed, listening to the rain pelt incessantly above her like a giant pack of pebbles let loose on the zinc rooftop. The wind howled eerily, beating fiercely against the thin walls of the poorly built house. With each gust of wind, the wooden shutters swung dangerously on their loose hinges, banging unceremoniously against the window frames. Rivulets of water poured through open cracks in the wall, forming muddy puddles on the floor.
Flashes of lightning streaked through the charcoal grey skies, temporarily outlining the dense foliage of Iroko trees silhouetted against the dark horizon, huddled together, swaying in unison against the fierce storm. Somewhere in the distance amidst the loud claps of thunder, a dog howled ominously, followed by the incessant hoots from a couple of nearby owls.
She shivered in fright. Droplets of perspiration glistened on her face as she lay cowering in bed. Her mouth felt dry as the unmistakable feel of evil surrounding her enveloped her senses.
Then she heard it. It was barely above a whisper, making hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. With her heart pounding crazily, she tried in vain to block it out while burying her head in the crook of her arms.
She heard it again, closer this time. Her name whispered so faintly, almost as though never uttered. No! She screamed inwardly. I must be strong. I wonât let him consume me.
~ ~ ~
Excerpt of: The Bicycle Trip
In the many years that I worked as a nurse, I attended to a number of characters, each memorable in a different way. The ones I remember best became exceptional to me. Many of them have passed away, but the one I came to be familiar with changed my life and gave me this story to tell.
He was a patient. While I visited him, he would talk about his day. I would give him, his medication and we would exchange greetings. To me I believed him to be another patient or so I supposed. He was 92 years of age. Lived in the apartment he owned in the nursing home, and had outlived both his wife and sons. When I entered his room he always greeted me with a smile, I was sure to be his only visitor.
Watering his flowers and tending to the house brought him joy. Leaving these just as his wife left it, was a reminder of her. I understood this beautiful thought. Never once spoke ill of anyone, always waiting until nightfall to retire to bed and come out of bed at seven, and no sooner and no later.
This was a man of routines and strict habits. One being his eating habits.He tried for a time to change his recipes only to realize that it did not taste the same. Tried buying other clothes this too he realized, he could not wear anything his wife had not chosen for him.
~ ~ ~
Excerpt of: A Scarlet Ribbon
Friday night was coming up again, and the guys had another âhappeningâ after work at the Branding Iron Bar & Grill for him and the mostly single staff. It was a fairly regular occurrence, and provided a bit of distraction from the âdeath marchâ deadlines that their IT staff faced on a daily basis. The ladies in their department had other plans on that night, as ten hour days cooped up with these nerds five to six days a week was long enough they said.
Slipping into his cubicle, they made it a point to invite Blade as well, since he was considered their âgood luck charmâ on those nights. What exactly did that mean? It meant that Blade, at six foot one inch tall, 190 pounds, 30 years old, and single, was the bait that brought young, nubile honeys to their table to tempt and beguile them.
One thing never changed about these gatherings however; he always left alone, and long before the night came to its inevitable end. Blade was, as they knew, simply the âbaitâ. That was all right with him, as he was able to enjoy a couple of hours of social camaraderie with his workmates each week. He was also the manager of this particular group, and although he enjoyed their company in social settings as well as at work, he knew that at some time that night, one or more of them would be getting a little too deep into their cups, and THAT was the scene that he wanted; no, he needed, to avoid.
Not that he wasnât there if they needed him, but for the most part he kept a low profile. His success in business hadnât come easily, as some suspected. In fact, he struggled through many of his required classes both in high school and college, his advancement and degrees obtained through sheer brute determination, and the assistance of a few very patient tutors.
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