Question of the week: “How do you write a great conclusion?”

February 4, 2009 at 4:36 am 2 comments


First, you must look at the journey of the story you’ve written:

  1. Did your character grow or change in some way?
  2. Are the main (and minor) problems resolved?
  3. When you re-read your story aloud to yourself and to others, do you feel that your “message” or idea has been conveyed?  Do the readers “get it?”
  4. Do you or others think or say “Then what happened?”
  5. Are the readers left thinking: “but what happened to Jimmy’s lost dog?” or “I thought they were moving in a week, what happened with the move?” You, as the writer, must answer and resolve all the problems you bring up, or at least bring them to a reasonable place where the reader can figure out what happened.
  6. Can you tell me in one sentence what your story is about?

If you can’t answer any of these, then you are not ready to write your conclusion.

Be true to yourself and your work. Do you feel you’ve written the complete story, told everything necessary to make your point?  Don’t be lazy, don’t use the easy way out: “and then I woke up! It was all a dream!” is pretty lame, I’m sorry to tell ya.  Take risks in your writing. If you don’t think you’ve dragged your characters through the mud and back, then you have more work to do.

A good rule is to put your story away for a few days, then pull it back out and read. Is the message or theme of the story clear? If not, get back to work. If you put it back down and are satisfied – you’ve finished one of many stories! Congratulations!

Truth is, artists (writers included) never feel that their work is truly completed. After many revisions and readings, sometimes you need to just let it speak for itself!

Do you have a questions about writing or publishing? Post it here! Your question might be selected as the next Question of the Week!

Entry filed under: Question of the Week. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Wacky Wednesdays! One Word Prompt…


  • 1. mary  |  September 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    it didnt help me :p

    • 2. writerinspired  |  September 4, 2009 at 9:19 pm

      Hi Mary, Well, maybe we can still help you and your story’s conclusion. Why don’t you tell us a bit about your story and where you feel stuck. When I’m stuck in my writing, I write “what if” 5 times down a page and then answer using the craziest scenarios for my characters and story. For example: what if Cammy’s car didn’t start when she left that night? or What If Carter found out it was his best friend who pulled the fire alarm that he was blamed for? Usually, one will pop out as a cool twist, so I’ll add it in and take the story on a new path. Keep writing! ~ Mary Jo

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Young Writers Program: NANOWRIMO

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February 2009
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