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Finding the Perfect Ending


I’m on the home stretch of my latest story, closing in on the final two scenes. I actually plotted this one out fairly carefully from the get-go – a first for me. And while I didn’t stick to the plot summary exactly, the general outlines do apply.

So I have a pretty good idea of where I’m going for the ending. But the exact nature of it is still a little bit of a mystery to me.

Ideally, an ending will take everything that came before and suddenly put it into focus, giving the reader that “aha” moment, or at least a sense of closure. An ending should feel like it fits the story, naturally. Sometimes it surprises the reader. Sometimes it just makes sense.

I also had the pleasure of reading a story from another friend from this group over the last two days. It’s a good story, interesting and unusual. But in the first draft, the ending just doesn’t quite get me there. We talked about some ideas for rectifying that, and I’m sure it will.

But these two stories have me wondering – how you construct the perfect ending?

So here’s my question for the day. How do you do endings? As a writer, do you start out with the ending in mind? Do you usually get the mark on the first try, or are you an endless tweaker? For readers, what do you look for in a satisfying ending? And what is your favorite ending of all time?


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