What makes a great ending?

Posted: January 14, 2012 in For writers
Tags: , , ,

Laura Miller wrote a blog for Salon magazine that got me thinking.  As a writer, I always pay attention to my openings.  I want to engage you right away in the story.  For those of you who have been following my book, you will know that I also like to close most of my chapters with page turners, thoughts that make you want more so that you turn the page for another bit of dialogue and action.  Laura’s article makes me think about the ending of the story.  Drat!  One more thing to consider.  But it’s A Big Thing.  How I end should be as important to me as how I began.   I want the story to come full circle and leave you with a sense of closure, of satisfaction.

She writes, “…but ask someone to quote a memorable closer and chances are all they can come up with is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past’ (from “The Great Gatsby”) or James Joyce’s rhapsodic ‘…and yes I said yes I will Yes.’  The trick of a good ending, of course, is that it must capture and equal everything that has gone before.”  And that is a challenging task for any writer.

Take some time to walk over to your bookshelf, pull down some favorites and look at the closing paragraph.  What makes a good ending for you?

Read the preview of my new book, an Alice Anne  mystery:  “The Banker’s Murder List.”


  1. Jeez Chris, I have to revisit my favorites and see! I agree it needs closure and you want to know where the characters you have gotten attached to wind up, even if they wind up deader than a door nail!! Margie

  2. Chris – very cool that you are a mystery writer! I’m currently writing short-short stories, which I’m just beginning to post on my blog. My character is a singer/songwriter. Have you participated in Writers Digest’s monthly writing challenges? Anyway, I’m following your blog. So very cool what you’re doing. And, thanks for liking my contribution to the photo of the week, my photo “Peace.” (The zebras.) Nice to meet you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s