Novel Endings: Dos and Don’ts

Congratulations, you’ve almost finished writing a novel. You’ve been working with your characters for months, maybe even years, at this point. You feel like you know them better than almost anything else. You just have one thing standing in your way: the elusive novel ending.

The ending to a novel is one of the most crucial parts of the writing process. Yes, you’ve successfully hooked in your reader with a killer beginning and provided them with entertaining characters and plot to drive the book forward through the tricky middle. But now, you’re at the ending. The ending is the final lasting impression your reader will have on your characters, your world… everything. It has to be good.

In my current manuscript, I’m facing this exact dilemma. I’ve put a solid 90,000 words down on paper, but I’ve taken a bit of a breather to make sure I get this ending done correctly. See, I’m walking into this ending without a certain idea of how I want to have everything get wrapped up, which makes everything I’m about to share below even more important. While trying to figure out what I want to do, I’ve come up with some tips and strategies to help writers out when they’re crafting the final pages of their novels.

Don’t rush it. You may feel like you need to just push through and let it be over and done with, but the ending is so crucial to the overall success of your book that you need to do it justice. You don’t want your reader to feel cheated.

Do tie up any loose ends. Throughout the writing process, you probably have left a trail of unanswered questions. It’s important that these questions get answered so your reader will be fully satisfied with your novel’s ending. The last thing you want is for a reader to be left scratching their head wondering.

Don’t introduce any new plots or characters. Though you might be tempted to throw in something new to peak the readers interest, instead, keep the ending simple. Wrap up existing storylines with existing characters and then leave it.

Do resolve the central conflict. It doesn’t have to be wrapped up neatly in a bow with a ‘happily ever after’ type of ending, but there needs to be some sort of finalization. Even if you’re writing a multi-book series, a resolution is still required (though it doesn’t have to be the overarching conflict, for obvious reasons).

Don’t change your voice or tone. You’ve written thousands and thousands of words without wavering your narrative voice and style. Make sure to stay consistent with it as you push through the final pages.

Have any more tips? Please comment below and share! And as always, keep writing, everyone!

Until next time.

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