A Humdinger Ending

This post by Janie Bill originally appeared on Savvy Authors on 1/8/15.

Endings can make or break an entire story. We’ve all heard about the protagonist’s motivation dictating his actions. His motivation shapes the plot and determines the big finale of the story. Whether you’re a plotter with an outline, or a panster with a completed first draft, once you’ve decided the resolution, revise with a mind to bolster the ending. Set up the elements before you reach the final chapter.

 

1. Say It Like You Mean It

Gossip, gossip, gossip. We’ve all been victims. We’ve done our share of spreading seedy details about others too. It catapults a person’s reputation from dreary housewife into conniving diva. The neighbor who wears high heels with a pajama top to walk down the driveway and pick up the morning paper becomes headline news.

Embellishing the facts is delicious. Tension skyrockets every time a character expresses a strong opinion about the antagonist.

“He’d kill a kitten in a playground.”

“That woman cheated on her husband and then took his entire savings while he was away in the war.”

 

2. Spread the Dirty Laundry

Readers love to hate and they love to find a reason to hate. A great excuse to disapprove of a person comes from casting judgment on him.

Exposing the dark secrets of the antagonist’s past does wonders for turning the readers against him. Character traits we as a society can’t forgive include, harming our neighbors, abusing pets and children, and showing a lack of respect toward the environment. The antagonist loses supporters when he only thinks of himself. The reader yearns to find fault where the antagonist deserves his upcommance.

The anatomist beats his dog. He refuses to share his cookies with his mother. He chews out a cashier at the grocery store.

 

Read the full post, which includes eight additional bullet points with further explanation, on Savvy Authors.

 

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