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QUICK TIP: Save Your Story From Coming to a Bad End

Too many stories end badly. And yet they somehow get published and even succeed to some degree. That’s because the rest of the story—the structure of it and the compelling essence of the character—triumphs to an extent that the ending doesn’t make or break the story at all. It just is. Your goal is ...

Too many stories end badly. And yet they somehow get published and even succeed to some degree. That’s because the rest of the story—the structure of it and the compelling essence of the character—triumphs to an extent that the ending doesn’t make or break the story at all. It just is.

—by Larry Brooks

Bad endings are far more common with established authors than they are for new ones because new authors rarely publish a book in which the ending isn’t one of the best things about the reading experience. A bad ending—unsatisfying, flat, illogical or just plain wrong—will get you rejected faster than misspelling the editor’s name.

Your goal should be to make your ending a home run, especially if this is your first novel or you’re a new screenwriter. Because the reverse is true, as well—a killer ending might soften the editorial reader to things that only a proven pro would get away with.

Story structure empowers an effective ending. If you can’t craft one after a requisite deep immersion into the infrastructure of the first three parts, you haven’t yet gone deep enough.

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