How Does The Story End?

Nope. I can’t let that happen.

How Does The Story End For The Writer?

For those of us who write by the seat of our pants, as opposed to those who have outlined a start-to-finish plot, the ending can be traumatic.

Our hero starts off in trouble and his woes increase until he has no way out. What’s to happen? Will he gain what he seeks or lose it? Will he find love, fame, or fortune? Will he survive? Does he still want the things that started his journey?

At The End Of The Second Act

That’s where the climax occurs. The hero is in an impossible situation. He or she wins or fails.
As authors, we know how the story should progress, but we’ve made it almost impossible for the protagonist. We pantsters (vs. plotters) are as eager as we hope our readers are, to discover what our hero will do. How will it turn out?

What Happens When We Know What Happens?

Funny thing. From page 1 we’ve worried, typed, fanned the thesaurus, lived in a different world, and met characters we never planned on, but our hero wanted them.
But now we know how his story ends. The real roller coaster ride starts.

Third Act 

This is the denouement. Is that a fancy word or what? It’s opposite of commencement, but it doesn’t get pronounced like it has “ment” in it. It sounds like “mawn.” A lot of meaning is packed into the word. It’s an untying of all the plot complexities and resolving any outstanding issues.

And it’s boring for the pantster author.

We look forward to the rewrite, but can’t start it until we finish the last two or three chapters. We have to copy the script in our heads into 12 point Times New Roman manuscript format.


Our minds drift to a short story we want to write, books to read, classes to take, movies to watch – almost anything rather than returning to finish the tale.

Don’t give up. Readers deserve our best full measure if they stuck with the story. They should have a good ending.

What’s your process for ending a story? Leave a comment.

Writing Fiction is published on Wednesdays

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