Questions tagged [ending]

This tag should be used for questions about the ending of a literary work, such as styles and guidelines relating to a "Happy Ending".

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12 votes
6 answers
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What type of protagonists get happy endings?

Obviously, the decision on how to write the ending is driven by the overall plot. That said, there seems to be a pattern on which protagonists get happy endings*. I'm not able to put my finger on it,...
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0 votes
0 answers
112 views

Is the bildungsroman dead for contemporary audiences?

My story can't hide the fact that it is bildungsroman, but there really are few linear year-by-year character reveals on the shelves today. Nothing like The Curious Life of Benjamin Button is coming ...
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5 votes
4 answers
158 views

How do I end my book?

I'm so close to finishing my first book, but I'm having so much trouble coming up with a conclusion. I know what needs to happen, but I just can't seem to finish it. I'm not sure if it's writer's ...
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20 votes
7 answers
5k views

What makes an ending tragic?

There are questions like, ‘What makes an ending happy?’ Or ‘What is considered a happy ending?’ That’s obviously not what I’m looking for. It’s more the opposite. Tragic love plots gives me cringes ...
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2 votes
4 answers
325 views

Denouement vs Resolution

What is the difference between a denouement and a resolution? Are they synonymous?
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0 votes
1 answer
111 views

Is it possible to create a compelling and satisfying ending when the protagonist only has one main villain?

So the outline I have for my story is that the hero has amnesia due to the plot of the villain to kill him but he doesn't know that but eventually does since the villain figured out he was still alive ...
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3 votes
1 answer
226 views

Should I save some plot for the sequel of my novel or make the first book (too) long but complete?

I wrote a sci-fi novel. It's around 120k words long with a neat 'ending' that wraps up the main plot. The story is not complete: Although the main goal has been accomplished, a lot of smaller issues ...
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  • 33
3 votes
3 answers
236 views

Can the first book in a series have a sad ending? (The antagonist wins)

I have an idea for a series, but I want the protagonist to die at the end of the first book, and make it seem like all hope is lost, and then in the second book others (one of his other relatives) ...
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  • 31
1 vote
3 answers
592 views

What makes a cliffhanger bad/good?

In the second (not yet written) book of my novel series, the ending is a cliffhanger. A very hopeless one. The very hopelessness of it is deliberate. Not only am I signing them up for the next ...
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  • 4,003
0 votes
1 answer
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How can I make it so that my story isn't resolved so easily? [closed]

I'm writing a screenplay for a project in my film studies class and I'm close to resolving the conflict, but as I near the end, it feels like it's being resolved far too easily. In summary, the ...
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  • 103
15 votes
8 answers
4k views

What makes an ending "happy"?

In this answer, Amadeus makes the case for happy endings based on their far greater popularity compared to unhappy endings. This leads me to wonder, what exactly makes an ending "happy"? Before I go ...
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5 votes
1 answer
109 views

Why is it that when I get to the end of writing my book, I get discombobulated and want to give up? [duplicate]

I've noticed this about most of the books I write, except for my short stories/novellas. When I get close to writing the end, my thoughts become a chaotic mess, and I don't know how to properly ...
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13 votes
7 answers
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Is it okay to have a sequel start immediately after the end of the first book?

The sequel to my first book is supposed to start immediately after the end of the first book. Zero time gap. Situation: At the end of book one a missing family member has finally joined the family. ...
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  • 439
6 votes
2 answers
610 views

Given two alternative, strong endings to a novel, how to decide which one to use?

I'm in the final polishing stages of a novel and I have two endings that both blow me away and I feel are very, very strong. Obviously, I can only have one ending. The story doesn't lend itself to a ...
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27 votes
14 answers
5k views

Non-trope happy ending?

This is in the idea stage, but I was wondering... In stories involving multiple protagonists (4 or more) that make and end relationships, date each other, etc. during the course of the story, the ...
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  • 4,400
2 votes
2 answers
250 views

Writing a Story From The End

There is a writing technique where a writer would imagine in her mind's eye where her story should end and will write it 'backwards'. Writing the end and then writing the chapters leading to end, so ...
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2 votes
5 answers
141 views

How can I make a talky, idea-based concept enjoyable [closed]

I'm writing a psychological novel about different characters finding the meaning of their lives. But the ending reveals it was all part of an experiment (properly foreshadowed). Someone was trying to ...
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19 votes
10 answers
6k views

Is it time to start closing up my novel?

I realize this may be a duplicate question. I've seen, for reference [ How long can a first novel be? ] yet I think my situation is a little more specific. I find myself in a similar situation. My ...
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6 votes
10 answers
797 views

How to end a story without reaching a new status quo?

A popular writing theory states that any story worth telling describes the movement from one status quo to another, and that major uncertainties in the inception and conclusion should be avoided. How ...
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14 votes
3 answers
2k views

What are key features and pacing in a satisfying ending to a science fiction novel?

My novel has been through multiple drafts and beta reads, and by and large is in good shape. I've learned how to cure a saggy middle, how to stay in point-of-view, how to keep the protagonist driving ...
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3 votes
5 answers
2k views

Should I end my story with a happy or sad ending? [duplicate]

I am writing a romantic short story and I don't know which type of ending suits my story better. Currently my characters fall in love but one ends up "cheating" (they were never dating or anything) ...
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  • 171
3 votes
4 answers
373 views

Should I let my hero die with the villain?

I'm writing my own fantasy novel and the way I want it to end is with the villain showing his humanity to the hero, begging for mercy, and when the hero is about to spare him the villains stabs him ...
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7 votes
12 answers
2k views

Anticlimactic ending as a surprise after climax?

Note: my story is for a video game, but that should hopefully be irrelevant to the question itself. Our heroes spent a long time fighting their way to the evil demon king. The hopes of all the people ...
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22 votes
6 answers
7k views

How advisable is it to end a love story on a downer?

For example, it doesn't end with the leads getting together; rather, one of them dies or the relationship is left ambiguous. I know that taking this approach would be bad if the genre I was aiming for ...
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10 votes
8 answers
3k views

Of plottwists and endings

While writing my story this has come up in my mind a lot. I have been planning and foreshadowing this major plottwist near the end of my story. But the effects of it might change my world utterly and ...
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8 votes
3 answers
791 views

Is an unresolved conflict a detriment to publishing a novel?

I'm starting to write my first book, and I've finished the outlining process. It's a fantasy novel that deals with the takedown of a monarchy, but I feel like I can't wrap up the whole story line in ...
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  • 81
16 votes
7 answers
3k views

Writing a Satisfying Ending

It strikes me that the last chapter (or so) of any story needs to make the reader feel that reading the book has been a worthwhile experience. An exceptional ending might leave a reader with such a ...
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14 votes
8 answers
6k views

Do Short Stories Need Definitive Endings?

I'm looking to create a few short stories that are in a shared universe of sorts and I'm curious whether or not I need to have a definitive ending to a story. I'm thinking that the "end" would be more ...
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6 votes
3 answers
260 views

What does the death of a fictional character mean?

When should a writer kill their protagonist off? Inspired by a question about character lifetime and another about what makes the death of a character satisfying for the reader, I have begun to ...
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18 votes
11 answers
10k views

Does my protagonist *have* to succeed?

I'm thinking about a YA dystopian novel and have planned it quite thoroughly. However, when I look back, the antagonists tend to always be a few steps ahead of my protagonist, and my protagonist is ...
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  • 1,611
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

Prepare for more after the "ending"?

In my story, there's this big bad, who needs to be destroyed. That is the main goal for about the last third of the video game. So the group of heroes manages to destroy him! ... but I don't want to ...
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9 votes
7 answers
2k views

How To Settle On An Ending?

I've had a few different ideas for an ending that I've narrowed down to two. They both fit the tone and they both fit the story. But they are also completely different. How do I pick? For example, ...
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47 votes
13 answers
9k views

Is it a bad idea to have multiple bad endings and only one good ending?

Background: I'm working on a game that has multiple paths for players to choose from. The choices the players make can lead them to very different endings. There are many bad endings but only one true ...
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  • 4,175
12 votes
8 answers
2k views

Should mystery stories have resolutions?

I'm working on the finishing touches of a story that has as part of the plot a possibly-supernatural mystery. I'm feeling rather nervous about the whole thing though because said mystery isn't the ...
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6 votes
6 answers
2k views

Where do I write 'The End'?

Background Woohoo! I literally just finished right now my masterpiece trilogy that I have worked on for what seems like, ages... I'm a bit vexed as to where I should write 'the end'. The epilogue ...
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  • 4,379
6 votes
4 answers
4k views

How do I end a comedy sketch?

I have a premise, which I think is funny/clever. I want to write this as a comedy sketch, to be acted out or shot on video. I have three "scenes" which are basically three different re-capitulations ...
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6 votes
2 answers
386 views

What to avoid when writing a happy ending?

I've finally decided to give a protagonist a happy ending, but what is there to avoid? What makes a happy end too cheesy? For example, if the story is about a anti-hero, who destroys his enemies, what ...
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6 votes
6 answers
459 views

Is it possible to write about failed detective novel?

All detective novel ends with the killer caught, right? Is it possible to write a completely bad ending detective novel? Imagine the Titanic of Sherlock Holmes, or is it done yet? By Titanic I mean ...
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  • 759
8 votes
5 answers
695 views

How do I write a fitting ending for an anti-hero?

My protagonist is an anti-hero. He's manipulative, cunning, kills, and sacrifices others for the greater good, which is to destroy an oppressive regime. I'm at the point where he has destroyed the ...
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4 votes
7 answers
218 views

How to motivate yourself to finish something?

Far too many stories of mine have gone unfinished simply because I lost motivation to keep writing (and it doesn't help that I manage to convince myself each project will be my magnum opus). How can I ...
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  • 141
6 votes
4 answers
690 views

Ending a PhD thesis by saying "there is more to do"

I am ending the conclusion of my PhD thesis by saying something like this (not even remotely in these words): There was a lot of work gone in the thesis, yada yada yada, however there is room for ...
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  • 185
5 votes
3 answers
502 views

Writing an Ending: how to prune away the Wrong ones?

My protagonist introduced herself to me through a sequence of set-pieces. She has a very specific altruistic goal, and the conflicts she enters are with other characters who have well-defined agendas....
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0 votes
4 answers
2k views

Should the opening of a short story mirror the ending?

When I was in school, my English teacher told me that a short story's beginning should mirror its ending, or at least the conclusion should in some way parallel the starting point of the story; but I ...
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4 votes
10 answers
2k views

Genre conventions: Which end do readers expect?

I need help with the concept of my story: My protagonists live in a mild dystopia. Think of your own country today ;-) They have the opportunity to kill about 20 persons, which will cause a ...
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2 votes
2 answers
323 views

Story resolution issue - A symbolic gift for two new friends

I'm nearly at the end of my story, and I'm struggling to finish it. Ashley (male) and Anna were best friends since childhood, until they grew apart and didn't talk to each other for many years. When ...
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  • 123
7 votes
7 answers
5k views

Do romances need to have a happy ending?

Is a book labelled "romance" expected to a have a happy ending? I've heard advice that "romance" novels are meant to satisfy, well, a desire for romance, and so an ending without a "happily ever ...
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  • 28k
2 votes
3 answers
335 views

How to tell if my story is finished, or needs more?

Slightly obtuse title, let me elaborate. I'm writing my first screenplay, and I'm trying to keep it simple while making it simultaneously wonderful. It's just a rom-com. But as I write and modify ...
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1 vote
1 answer
2k views

What is it called when the outcome of the plot is not told?

Is there a name for the mechanic where the storyteller doesn't divulge the outcome of the end of a story because the outcome is not important to the point of the story?
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19 votes
4 answers
3k views

Should cliffhangers be used in every chapter?

This is not a great question but I use a lot of cliffhangers. And I have a habit of making cliffhangers in the end of every chapter that I write just to hook the reader. The question is, is it a good ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
449 views

How to improve the ending of this short story (final scene + flashback)

This is sort of the continuation of this previous question. The full text is here (just in case). Sophia grabbed her bag, and headed towards an entrance in the corner of the room. She walked in, ...
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