Thursday, October 6, 2011

Story Endings

Writers talk a lot about the opening hook and the first five pages of a story. There isn't a lot of hype out there on endings, so I thought today's post could talk a little about that. Basically, there are four ways the story can end:

1.       Hero fails completely - generally, this is not satisfying for the reader, but may be a set up for a second book or a series.
2.       Hero succeeds – this can be hard to pull off, but your protagonist needs to end up in a better place than where she started. Usually this follows a pattern of three try/fail cycles where the hero fails in the first two, and has a huge win in the last cycle.
3.       The protagonist is struggling to gain something and discovers that she wants something else more – discovers something more important.
4.       The protagonist gets what she wants but has to give something else in return…she takes her beating – This gives the writer a lot of opportunity to develop conflict, and often works the best.

In romance novels there are a few rules, one of which is that there has to be a happy ending. This doesn't mean it can't have a lot of confilct and twists (on the contrary) but does mean that the protagonist has to get the guy in the end.


  1. You're right--there's hardly any hype about endings, and yet, they are just as important as the beginning. Those are good points.

  2. I just typed the end after a twist I hope no one will see coming. But where I write (the thriller world) we don't always have to end happy :-)