What are the Best Kinds of Endings?

It’s difficult to finish things. Jobs. Relationships. Home improvement projects. A manuscript.

A writer gets a fabulous idea for a story or a character and then they just don’t know whether they’ve said enough or too much.

 You work and work at something with fervor, and sometimes energy and enterprise fade out. You start asking yourself, what kind of story was I trying to write? Was it a sad story or a happy story? An inspirational story?

The best stories have components of all three. The reader laughs, cries, and empathizes with the protagonist. They understand what it is they desire. In the classic tale of Odysseus, the hero Odysseus just wants to get home. He is weary after fighting in the Trojan Wars, but his journey takes ten years. To be reunited with his wife Penelope and son Telemachus he must overcome numerous supernatural creatures and obstacles to reclaim his rightful place as king of Ithaca.

Photo by Maksim Romashkin on Pexels.com

The ending should underscore the story’s message, meaning or theme. In Odysseus, it’s decidedly perseverance. If you are writing a story about returning home, what makes your story unique?

Writers want their readers to care about the characters they’ve created, enough to keep thinking about them after they finished the last page. A good plot shouldn’t be predictable. It should provide surprises. At least, I think it should provide surprises.

Everything, every plot configuration, has been written about in what way or another. So, writers, how can you tell it differently?

Still confused? A story doesn’t have to be told in chronological order. Try starting at the end and then go backwards in time. Our minds often remember events thematically. Trying telling a story by focusing on specific objects or time of the day.

Thank you for reading. Follow me on Twitter. And if you’d like to read one of my nonfiction stories focusing on an object, here’s a link to “Admiration for my Grandmother’s Pitcher.”

Published by Nadja Maril

Nadja Maril is a communications professional who has over 10 years experience as a magazine editor. A writer and journalist, Maril is the author of several books including: "American Lighting 1840-1940", "Antique Lamp Buyer's Guide", "Me, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat", and "Runaway, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat". Her short stories and essays have been published in several small online journals including Lunch Ticket, Change Seven, Scarlet Leaf Review and Defunkt Magazine. She has an MFA in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Former Editor-in-Chief of What's Up ? Publishing, former Editor of Chesapeake Taste Magazine a regional lifestyle magazine based in Annapolis, and former Lighting Editor of Victorian Homes Magazine, Maril has written hundreds of newspaper and magazines articles on a variety of subjects..

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