Tips for Ending a Short Story

 

Dead end finish short stories

 

by Sara Kopeczky

It is a well known fact that short stories should go out with a bang. In shorter fiction, where you have a limited set of character and a shorter time span in which the action takes place (unlike novel), every word should bring the readers one step closer to the big finale. Here are some tips and tricks to write a killer ending to your short story.

 

1. Nice writers finish first

Keep your ending short and sweet. Make sure you don’t over-explain things – don’t underestimate your readers.

 

2. Finish at the beginning

Circular ending is a good way to round up your story and make the readers feel like the circle is closing and the journey has come to an end. By reintroducing some elements from the beginning of the story, you evoke the sense of completion and leave your readers satisfied.

 

3. Shock your readers

Another way to end your short story is to say something completely unexpected. Keep telling them about the drunk, unstable woman who wakes up with no memory and blood on her hands, and in the end slap us with an abusive husband who used her weakness to frame her for murder (okay, don’t do that because Paula Hawkins already used this one up in her bestseller, The Girl on the Train, but you get the picture).

 

4. Zoom out of the story

This is a very visual ending: show the close-up of the setting and then drift away to show the broader picture.

 

5. Keep it vague

An open ending is possibly the most true-to-life, because in real life, the Earth doesn’t stop turning because a certain event came to an end, or a mystery has been resolved. It also offers the readers to pick the ending they like best.

No matter how you decide to end your story, make sure to achieve the sense of completion, and to show that your protagonist has changed as a result of the events shown in the story.

 

 

 

Guest post contributed by Sara Kopeczky. Sara is an English and Italian teacher living in Croatia. She is the editor of The Split Mind, a magazine dedicated to literature and culture. She is an aspiring author and has published poetry and short fiction in magazines, collections and online. She has won several literary competitions in Croatia and Germany.

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