Skip to content

Strategies to help with endings

A few suggestions to help with the struggle.

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

Lately, I've been having trouble with endings, so here are a few strategies I've been playing with:

Start at the end: If I figure out where I'm going—and can visualize what it looks like when I get there, I can use it to work backwards and figure out how I got there.

Write it in 50 words: Once you have your ending, write it out in 50 words. Not only does it help you visualize it, but it means you have to be specific. (Also, I know I have been repeating 50 words lately, but it does ease the pressure off your writing—especially if you are struggling with it.)

Describe the feeling: I found this one helpful. Figure out what you want your reader to feel at the end of the story. It could be an emotion like terror, wonder, or shock, but it can also be understanding or clarity. If you can define it, you can shape what it looks like and reverse-engineer how to get there.

Define the beat: The type of story beat you use may define the rest of your story. How does it impact the tone of your story if you use description, the thoughts of a character, an action or dialogue beat, the narration, or a combination?

Those are four options for ending that have helped with my writing. Do you have any you might suggest?


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


Related Posts

Members Public

What's it for?

Seth Godin recently asked two questions in a blog post: "Who's it for? What's it for?" When writing, do you know who it's for? It doesn't have to be an audience with a capital "A." It doesn't have to be for any audience; it can be for just you. But

Members Public

Journey with your characters

Most people can't have the whole story in their heads. Too many pieces, too many moving parts. That doesn't mean you must plan it out. Once your character's story takes shape, then begin. Allow yourself to be surprised and adapt, and let your imagination take you on a journey. That

Members Public

The lies our characters tell themselves

Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon tells the story of a priest and woodcutter trying to understand a murder by listening to the testimonies of the multiple people involved. Ultimately, they struggle to find the truth amongst the lies. A similar type of story occurs within each of us. We tell ourselves multiple