There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.
– Frank Herbert
I often don’t want to end my stories. That is one of the reasons that when I write I often end up already planning for a sequel, or if not a sequel, I usually have a fairly good idea of what happens to the characters after the story ends.
Ending a story is difficult for an author, but it is also exhilarating.
The difficult part is the fact that you have worked on this for so long. You know the characters so well, often even better than your family and friends. You don’t want to say goodbye to those that you have come to care about so much.
The exhilarating part is that you have finished writing a book! It is finished. You can edit it now if you want, and publish it.
But where do you end a story?
Do you end it when the main characters are falling off a cliff? Or when they are getting married? Or when the child finally finds someone who cares about him or her?
Really, it depends on the story.
But here are some general guidelines for when the story is ready to be ended.
- Has your main character grown in some way? Have they changed at all since the story began?
- Has something been accomplished in the character’s life or in the world around them that they directly affected?
- Has the main character overcome some sort of challenge?
If you can answer yes to all of these questions, your story is probably about ready to end. Just make sure that you tie up all the threads before you go, unless, of course, this is a series, then leaving some loose strings is probably not a bad idea.
If you have answered no to some of the questions, then the answer of whether it is time to end the story is entirely up to you. However, I do suggest before you decide to suddenly end the story to look it over and make sure that this is really where you want to end it. (Although, you can always go back and change where you end it later.)
If you answered no to all of these questions, this might not be the best time to end your story. But I don’t know what you are writing, there is always the chance that this is the right place.
I hope this has helped you with your ending dilemmas. Or at least given you an idea of where your story is going. Ending a story, or a novel, or even a blog post can be difficult no matter how good you are at writing.