As 2014 closes, consider sad and happy endings


The New Year is fast-approaching and while many folks are ready for a fun party and a fresh start, this is also a time for kicking around the ending of a year, too.


(Flickr: Don Miller)

Most writers understand the importance of endings. All of our work — whether we apply our pens to poems or prose — must ultimately leave the reader with a sense of completion.

However, achieving a conclusion that both satisfies and inspires the reader is no easy task.

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That’s because a story represents something of a covenant between an author and her readers.

Readers expect that a writer will deliver a pleasing and plausible ending as a reward for the time they invested in reading the book. Writers take the expectation seriously because readers certainly do.

Read: Crystal ball: Writing success is yours

Unfortunately, literary history is filled with tales of endings that have veered off and left so many questions in the gathering dust that the reader feels confused and abandoned on the roadside.

Read: Writer’s block: Are you stalled or speeding ahead?

So, what can you do to write a good ending for your current writing project?

Write a Strong Ending

–Some writers insist that they know the ending before they begin writing. If that’s true for you, then write it first and write your way back to the beginning.

–Scribble out an outline, no matter how meager or incomplete, as a way of keeping your purpose and your characters’ paths in clear view.

–Strive to leave at least some parts of your ending open to interpretation, if possible. This may be maddening for some readers, but it also allows the majority of readers to apply their own hopes and insights to a character. Be careful not to let too much dangling, though.

–Consider your audience. What type of ending would they find most satisfying? And if you feel you must disappoint your reader with, say, the death of a beloved character because the narrative demands it, how can you make the ending palatable for your grieving audience?

Read: ‘Tis the season to be melancholy

Have some fun today and practice writing the ending to the story of your year, your 2014. What elements would be there — suspense and hope? Excitement and expectation? Or melancholy and dread? How would you close out the year were it to be a subject for your readers?

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at

Kerri S. Mabee

One thought on “As 2014 closes, consider sad and happy endings

  1. I’m not even a writer, but I so enjoy your words…(and your photos are beautiful, too!) Happy New Year, my dear friend…to new beginnings, and good endings:) Jill

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