Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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February 1, 2011

Writing the Ending

by Charlotte Carter

As a writer, we all want to write a satisfying ending that will leave the reader sighing with pleasure. So here are a couple of tips to help you get to The End.

The ending of a story starts at the beginning of the story.

1. A character’s weaknesses and fears are established in the opening chapter(s). During the book the character will grow emotionally. At the black moment he fails to demonstrate that he’s learned his lesson, his character arc is not yet complete. The climax follows when he does make the right choice, (makes a sacrifice, takes a risk) he makes a leap of faith that shows he has learned his lesson, and his arc is complete. The resolution is showing that he’s okay with this new decision.

2. Close the story circle by making the ending a reflection or a mirror image of the beginning; the characters have changed and grown but the framework of their existence remains the same. Their reactions/success change in part because of who they have become.

In my book,  Between Duty and Honor - the impetus for the story is a firefighter dying in a warehouse fire (prior to opening). The hero of the story was unable to save that firefighter and subsequently falls in love with the deceased's widow; the ending swirls to its conclusion when the hero is able to save the heroine's child from a fire in the same derelict building.

In my runaway bride story (everybody writes one of those), in the opening scene she's trying on a fancy wedding gown; in the closing scene she's marrying someone else in a modest dress and the gown is en route to Goodwill.

I had the pleasure of writing THE END this morning to my upcoming book from Love Inspired, Big Sky Family (11/2011) and sent it off to my editor. In this case Arnie, the hero, with the help of a 'mentor,' comes to realize that despite the fact that he is a paraplegic, he is worthy to marry Ellie, the heroine. (Yes, I know it's a romance; in a romance the guy and gal always get together. That's the promise we romance authors make to our readers. It's how they get there that is the creative part.)

Happy endings to you all!

Books that leave you smiling by Charlotte Carter
  from Love Inspired:
    Big Sky Reunion, 4/2011
    Big Sky Family, 11/2011

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