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My planning process is beginning to take a little more form now and I have a good amount of ideas, characters and wotnot to begin writing (knowing me I won't and I'll procrastinate but I digress). The problem is that despite all of these ideas, none of them are related to what the ending may be.
I'm aware of all the major ending archetypes (resolved, unresolved, expanded, unexpected,etc) but other than that, the final few chapters including the final major incident has been left completely blank.

One of my problems is that with all novels, shortstories, novellas, even intricate daydreams, I find creating endings not just difficult but actually painful as writing has become a form of escape and I think my brain stops me from creating endings as I don't want it to end.

How can I go about thinking of a good ending and climax that perfectly suits and neatly ties up my existing ideas? Is there a way to do this without getting rid of/changing them and are there 5 bullet-points or some kind of list to help me understand better?

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Some thoughts:

1 Plot dynamic

Linguists have identified a number of common shapes for the progression of plot dynamic. I have presented the shapes, as well as the sources, in another answer. This is not the common approach to finding an ending, but you could try and understand the shape that your plot has until now and maybe identify the possible directions it might take to fit into one of the bestselling patterns.

2 Character

One idea in writing is that the protagonist earns the ending to their story. A character who succeeds at their development task is rewarded with achieving their goals, while a character who resists the necessary personality development and fails at becoming a better person is punished with failing at their outward journey as well. You could try and understand your character and their development and derive the ending they deserve from that.

3 Theme

What is the theme of your story? Does it imply an ending? A story about how dark and hopless the world is will not have a happy ending. So what is the message you want to convey? Find an ending that makes that statement.

4 Genre conventions

Does you genre have typical endings? What will your readers expect? Readers that are disappointed or even distraught by your ending will never pick up another book by you. We read to be satisfied, not to be cheated.

5 Tone

Your story will have a mood or tone that implies an ending to its readers. Is your narrative brooding or humorous, factual or breathless? The ending should fit the tone of the narrative in its mood: brooding > depressing ending; humorous > uplifting ending; factual > sober ending; breathless > successful ending; etc.

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  • I know I don’t need to leave a message but I do want to say thanks @Ben for the literally perfect format (so understandable!) and awesome answer. Commented Apr 22 at 7:10

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