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Devising A Good Ending : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Devising A Good Ending

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
Truegho
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Devising A Good Ending

Postby Truegho » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:33 am

I love writing, but must admit that sometimes I sweat buckets over coming up with a good ending. Do any of you suffer similar frustration in trying to arrive at a suitable conclusion to your short story or book? Do you write the ending first?

It's very easy to start a book; unfortunately, it's very hard to finish one satisfactorily.
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max2011
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Re: Devising A Good Ending

Postby max2011 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:01 am

I usually suffer through the little details needed to get to the end. I have a beginning set and where I want the MC to go, but those in between scenes really do me in.

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mammamaia
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Re: Devising A Good Ending

Postby mammamaia » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:09 pm

i don't have any trouble with endings... or beginnings... middles take the most time and figuring-out, but still not usually a major problem...
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rosebud
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Re: Devising A Good Ending

Postby rosebud » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:15 pm


James A. Ritchie
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Re: Devising A Good Ending

Postby James A. Ritchie » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:33 am

I believe good stories end right where they start. Story structure is usually linear, but it's also circular. It is, in fact, almost always circular, despite hos the parts are put together. The ending of a story comes when the story circles back to the opening, much like a snake biting its own tail.

In other words, when you write a properly structured opening, you have written the ending. Trouble with endings usually comes because there's something wrong with the beginning. If, right there in the first chapter, you set up the problem to be solved, and/or the question to be answered, the ending should be inherent. The story should circle naturally, come back to the beginning, and when the snake bites its own tail, the problem has been solved, and/or the question answered.

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rosebud
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Re: Devising A Good Ending

Postby rosebud » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:04 pm

Wow James, that's so true. I wonder why I forgot that. I guess I have some revising to do....again.

kamalayka
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Re: Devising A Good Ending

Postby kamalayka » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:21 pm

My method for devising an ending is simple:

1.) Analyze the story for as many themes as I can find.

2.) Formulate a scene that ties them all together, with deference shown to the main one(s).

It helps to think of themes as threads that weave through a story, and the ending as the place where these threads twist together to form a rope.

It also helps to "echo" some sort of item or setting or situation or phrase or whatever from the beginning. This creates a sense of cohesion.

kamalayka
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Re: Devising A Good Ending

Postby kamalayka » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:06 pm


TerryRodgers
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Re: Devising A Good Ending

Postby TerryRodgers » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:48 pm

I'm like Maia, I pretty much know the beginning and end and just work through the middle making sure I add tension. Many new writers forget about the middle and tend to leave it flat.

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DrG2
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Re: Devising A Good Ending

Postby DrG2 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:08 pm

J.C. Oates wrote something like: I don't know what my beginning is until I have an ending.

I don't know if I can write a story if I don't have some idea of an ending - - though that ending might evolve as the writing progresses.

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