A strong start will convince someone to give your novel a chance and a strong middle will keep them going, but a strong ending is what will leave your reader feeling satisfied and convince them to read the next book and share your book with others. Here are some tips on how to craft a compelling ending.
Tip 1: Just like your opening, your ending should emphasize what's unique about your novel, so that it can impress itself in your reader's mind.
Tip 2: Bookends can make the ending feel more significant, because an echo of the beginning will emphasize how much has changed.
Tip 3: A compelling ending often hinges on a choice: not between a good and bad option, but between two equally valid but imperfect possibilities.
Tip 4: Even if you want to leave things open ended or land on a cliffhanger, there should still be something conclusive for the book - whether that's a complete arc, or a resolution of the initial conflict even if it's leading to something more.
Tip 5: While the ending shouldn't be predictable, it also shouldn't be random, either! Brainstorm the obvious ending and a shocking one, and see if you can balance the two.
Tip 6: It's okay to leave some plot threads incomplete! Observing the unfinished business in the text can help make that feel intentional instead of sloppy.
Tip 7: A really compelling conclusion will contain the pivotal moment for both your external plot as well as the book's themes or characters' arcs. It's good to check on, since writers with strengths in one area might miss the conclusion for the other.
Tip 8: Avoid drama for the sake of drama (for example, randomly killing off characters or everyone ending up in relationships). If it's not linked to your plot and themes, it can actually dampen your novel's impact.
Tip 9: A climax should be an intensified version of everything that came before it: the greatest mystery of the mystery novel, the greatest romantic moment of a romance. It should not be, for example, the greatest romantic moment of a mystery.
Revising your ending often requires a full-book plan. If you want any help developing a strategy to tackle a full book revision (or even a partial one!), you can check out our services page to see which option is the best for you, whether that's a more casual coaching call or a full on Glow Package.