Story endings

Quite often I get readers of this blog leaving questions in the comments section. That is great and I appreciate the feedback and try to help people with their writing problems.

Occasionally I also get readers leaving ideas from which I can benefit too. This is also great. Louise was one such reader today. Here is what she wrote:

You’ve just solved my problem! I have lots of short stories written – but with no ending! I get ideas for stories but then they sort of fizzle out.

Just for fun, I am going to create my own ‘final sentences’ and maybe something will click and maybe, they’ll trigger more ideas for short stories!


It must be a little discouraging to have lots of unfinished stories. Please, please, please don’t throw them away. They could well be the seeds of longer works later.

Another suggestion is to leave an unfinished story filed away for a few weeks or even months, then come back to it with almost “fresh” eyes and ears. You read that correctly – EARS. Read the unfinished story out loud – better yet – get someone you trust to read it to you. That story will have been ticking away in your subconscious for ages and might well be ready to mature into a complete story. The creative mind can be quite amazing at times.

Another suggestion: a commonly used technique is to ask the simple question: “What happens next?” or even “What if…?”

And how about “interviewing” your main character? You might be surprised what that character will say, or come up with.

You could also ask yourself the question: “What does the main character really want? What motivates her? How will he get what he wants? And what or who is hindering fulfilling those wants or desires? These could be triggers to get you writing again.

Hope this all helps.

Good writing.

Related article:  Short story endings


3 Responses to “Story endings”

  1. Ken Rolph says:

    One of the benefits in being part of a group of writers is to see your story in action. Many people make the mistake of reading their own work. This is kind of protecting it. One day it will have to grow up and leave home. The best approach is for someone else to read the story to the group and have them comment on it. The writer must stay right back and observe the reactions. That way you can see when people wrinkly their brows or laugh or look thoughtful. You also hear the reader stumble or read smoothly.

    Sometimes we keep our stories too close to us, while they are growing up. But we write our stories to share with others. People in performance arts get direct responses from their audience. Writers can miss out on this step unless they organise to put themselves in that position.

  2. Trevor says:

    Well said Ken.

    Too often – most of the time actually – writers get far too close to their ‘babies’ to see the faults, errors and structural problems that are obvious to other readers.

    This is probably THE most important lesson I have learned doing my Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Tabor Adelaide, especially under the guidance of Rosanne Hawke. At first I was threatened by having to share my writing in a public forum like a workshop.

    Then I felt challenged by what others were writing in response to the set activities. This lifted my own writing to a new level.

    Now I’m at the stage of actively seeking feedback from other writers and readers. Their reactions, perceptions and comments can only make me a better writer.

    Isn’t that what we all strive for?

    And a spin-off bonus is that our writing is improved making it more likely to be accepted for publication.

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