Tool 39 ~ Write toward an ending.

“Help readers close the circle of meaning.”

I had no idea there were so many ways to end a story:

Closing the circle — come back around to what happened in the beginning

The tieback — tie the story into a random element in the narrative

The time frame — “The writer creates a tick-tock structure, with time advancing relentlessly. To end the story, the writer decides what should happen last” (191).

The space frame — this story is focused on space. What is happening in the place, the area? The story ends at a destination.

The payoff — it’s the reward for the reader. You made it to the end!

The epilogue — and life goes on even after the book closes.

Problem and solution — this is what is wrong . . . and this is how it is solved.

The apt quote — sometimes a character says the perfect words for an ending.

Look to the future — “Most writing relates things that have happened in the past. But what do people say will happen next? What is the likely consequence of this decision or those events?”

Mobilize the reader — this ending reminds me of self-help books. Go do this. “Donate blood . . . ” Read that book, etc.

Clark ends this section by saying, “You will write better endings if you remember that other parts of your story need endings too” (191), which is so true! I learned this technique in my feature writing class.

Each sentence, thought, or paragraph needs to find closure, for in journalism, the sentences are rearranged frequently, shifting them up or down the column, or chopping them off abruptly. There is no half-hearted attempts at organization or endings. They need to happen in staccato fashion, bringing energy to the story until the very last page–the end.


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