Part Three of a Three Part Series: ‘Elusive Endings’ by Mary Deal

Elusive Endings


Mary Deal

If you have not yet read part one of the series, Magnetic Beginnings, be sure to check it out. Part two, The End of Sagging Middles, is also archived for your enjoyment.

When you set off for a vacation, do you plan ahead and know where you’ll end up? Narrowing down this concept, when you go grocery shopping, do you know where you will shop?

In creating a story, if you know what you wish to take your characters through – the plot and reason for writing the story – there can only be one, possibly two good endings.

If you write romance, your two lovers can only end up together or separated somehow.

If you write thrillers, your killer has to get his comeuppance.

Even if you write about everyday lives of some people, they will have to end up changed in a certain way. It’s called the character arc. These are but a few examples. The endings are almost standard and dictated for you if you know the genre of your story and have written it thoroughly. It’s up to you to write the ending scene(s) as exciting as possible.

What you might do is write out a few thoughts beforehand. Say you have a thriller with a serial killer who must be caught. Of course he gets caught. But if your story prior to the ending makes him out to be gruesome and evil, then his getting caught and punishment must carry the same caliber of excitement.

A gruesome psychopath cannot simply be caught when the police creep into his bedroom and wake him with guns drawn. It’s too easy. You must raise the ante and make him almost escape before he is, perhaps, wounded. Still he runs and becomes more elusive. So you write the chase and his capture and you throw in as much opportunity for him to escape before the police dogs tear him apart.

If you know your story and have written it toward what you consider an elusive ending that you can’t seem to pin down, you may have too many loose ends not tied up within the plot. There can only be one or two really good endings to any story. Then it’s up to you to use your imagination and make it exciting enough to fit the rest of the action, or exciting enough to make the ending the best of the story. Remember, only one or two endings exist to choose from. It’s a matter of reasoning it out in your mind.

Please visit Mary Deal’s website for more wonderful articles like this one: Write Any Genre.

About Mike Angley

Mike Angley is the award-winning author of the Child Finder Trilogy. He retired as a Colonel from the Air Force in 2007 following a 25-year career as a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). He held 13 different assignments throughout the world, among which were five tours as a Commander of various units, to include two Air Force Squadrons and a Wing. He is a seasoned criminal investigator and a counterintelligence and counterterrorism specialist. In his last assignment, he was Commander of OSI Region 8 with responsibility for all of Air Force Space Command. He’s fond of saying, “If it entered or exited Earth’s atmosphere, I had a dog in the fight!”
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