I hope that I’m the only one who struggles to find the perfect way to end a chapter. If I’m right then all you lovely people will jump to my rescue and teach me the trick. It’s not just ending a chapter that makes me cringe, finding the right way to bring a close to short stories and scenes within chapters is problematic as well. It’s as if the blasted scene doesn’t want to end. The best analogy I can think of is the awkward part of the phone call when one person doesn’t know how to say goodbye and hang up the phone.
So let us explore the elements that help a chapter/scene/short story end on a high note:
(Beware, I’m making this up as I go…)
- Concise – the scene ends at a natural finishing point without dribbling on.
- Clever – the last phrase of the chapter has to have some punch. This could mean that it’s clever, meaningful, or at least interesting.
- Complete – unless you obviously are ending on a cliffhanger, all events should feel finished to the extent needed for the characters to move on.
- Compelling – your readers should want to know what happens next.
- Cohesive – it should agree with the style and pacing of the rest of the chapter.
- Change – be cautious not to overuse certain endings such as cliffhangers, nightfall, and farewells.
Making a list is easy, going out and doing it is hard.
What are your thoughts on bringing scenes to a close?