— Here’s just a short guide to writing the last chapter of your story, including a small checklist of things to make sure you’ve covered, and some helpful tips I’ve gathered from my experience. I hope this is helpful to all of you!
General Advice On The Last Chapter
The last chapter is a very important part of your book. It is where you leave the reader, and that means your chance to change their interpretation and leave a lasting, calculated impression, is coming to an end. The last sentence of your story is a very important aspect to give love to, but the entire last chapter is very imperative to getting that impression left correctly in your audience’s memory.
- Don’t just make everything work out all of a sudden. That resolution should build, not explode.
- Avoid monologuing about life and the duality of man and whatnot. Your last chapter shouldn’t be one giant essay on why life sucks or why life is beautiful or why being a certain thing is bad or whatever. Your last chapter is the resolution to a story, not a major life issue or controversy. Plus, it comes off as extremely pretentious.
- If you’re going to include a twist at the very end, make it satisfying for the reader.
- Make sure there has been some falling action between your climax and resolution. Forgetting to give your audience time to come down from the excitement will ruin the ending because they haven’t had time to process and interpret the climax they just read.
- Be extremely intentional with the symbolism you repeat, the themes you outline, the subtext you input, and the way you allude to development that has happened to the characters.
- Be clear with your reader about where this story goes next. If your book is going to become a duology or a series, lead into that smoothly.
- Make sure the conflict of the book is resolved. The overall conflict of a series will not be, but the main storyline that you’re focusing on for this installment should be taken care of.
- Is there anything left for the reader to imagine? There should be certain elements of the future of the story that your reader can take and turn into whatever they please. (For instance, do they stay together forever? I don’t know, you decide.)
- Are all of the plot holes and foreshadowing resolved? All questions about the specific conflict in this book should have been answered by now, whether it’s a series or not.
- Does the ending of this book make my reader see how my characters have changed through the conflict? This is extremely important to make sure you can answer ‘yes’ to.
- Make sure you only have to allude to your theme rather than spelling it out for the reader at the end. Like a joke, if it needs to be explained afterward, you haven’t done a good job of illustrating it.
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