I do realize that this is a very generic question, and I apologize if it doesn't meet the requirements of this forum.

I have plenty of ideas for stories and I come up with new ones all the time, which always results in me starting off very ambitiously creating a story world, characters, the main storyline etc. But I'm never able to finish it before I get a new idea which I feel like I have to write down before I forget it.

So my question is: What are some key elements to finishing writing a story. (By finishing I mean having a beginning, middle and end. Finishing touches are not included.)

4 Answers 4


If you are a discovery writer, then just write your story until you hit the end. If you have ideas for other stories, note them down, and then return to writing the story at hand. You will know when the beginning that you set out from wraps up and completes from your gut feeling of completion.

If you are an outliner, then figure out what the story is about. What is, to use an example, the mystery that needs to be solved? What is the goal that the hero tries to achieve? The end will be, when the hero achieves his goal or finally fails forever. The end will be, when the murderer is caught, the riddle solved, the world saved, the lovers married. I don't know what you are writing about, but if you are not just meandering through your imagination but are actually telling a story, then the end to that story is implicitly contained in it.

If I understand you correctly, you are not actually writing anything, just playing with your ideas. You need to decide on one and work on it. If you cannot do that, then you are not a writer but a dreamer. Writing, like all other occupations, needs a certain focus and discipline. If you cannot control your attention to stay focussed on one task, then you cannot succeed at that task. And no amount of advice for writers is going to help you, because then the problem is not in a lack of craft but in either your attitude or your ability to focus.

  • +1 reality check: "you are not a writer but a dreamer. Writing, like all other occupations, needs a certain focus and discipline." Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 20:29

When you start writing a story, don't stop. If you get brilliant ideas, write them down for later. But always finish your stuff, even if it's absolute garbage. Finish it and then get on to a new one.



Plan, plan, plan.

I used to be vehemently against planning, but had I not, I never would've finished anything.

Research the five point plot structure, and use that for each of your characters. You don't have to have all the plot points when you start writing, but I find it helps to at least have a beginning and an end. I've never finished a story where I didn't know the ending very early on.

As for the other ideas, make notes on them. That gets the ideas out of your system while still allowing you to focus on your chosen project. Ultimately, you have to decide which one to focus on, or you'll never finish anything. Pick the project that's closest to your heart. If you don't have one, go for the one you have the most ideas on. There is always an idea that stands out to us the most, even if we don't want to admit it because it's too difficult or too sensitive or for some other reason.

Give yourself a daily target for writing. I aim for 1000 words a day (some people prefer to go by time frames). Once I get home from work and have eaten my dinner, I don't leave my laptop until those words are written. It's important to write even on the days you don't feel like it, because that's how you build a routine.


I took him out back and I shot him. It didn't make me feel bad really. I didn't even think twice even as the police completely exonerated for any involvement in the murder.

I waved. The detective waved back.

I went back inside, switched on the Television, grabbed a cold one from the fridge and a chilled glass from the freezer.

That beer went down real good.

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