In Conclusion…

You’re almost done…your characters are relatable, your setting is realistic and the plot makes sense. Now you just have to tie up the loose ends…

I don’t know whether it is apparent to my readers, but I struggle to write strong conclusions. Every time I come to write a concluding paragraph, I find myself deleting and re-writing it multiple times – far more than any other part of a story or post. Even after I’ve clicked ‘print’ or ‘publish post’, often I’m still not 100% happy with the last few lines. If I waited until I was, I’d miss far too many deadlines.

I have to wonder why that is? Why is it that when the rest of the text has been flowing so freely, the last few lines bring my creativity to a grinding halt? I have several theories…

1. It’s a mental thing. Maybe I don’t want my work to feel finished, because I’m afraid of the reception it might receive when I send it out into the world. As long as I’m not happy with part of it, I can put off showing it to anybody else because, ‘it’s not quite ready’.

2. It could be a form of burn-out. I’ve noticed sometimes when I’m writing, rather than ending with a bang, the story just sort of peters out. I think this happens mostly when I’m tired – I lose concentration, lose track of the story line, and it ends up going nowhere. I still find it hard to pick up the threads when this happens, but I’m slowly getting better at fixing this in editing.

Just as you need a snappy opening to draw readers in, a strong conclusion is important if you want them to come back for the next installment. In the same way as some music feels unfinished if it doesn’t modulate back to the tonic, a story can come to a jarring end if the conclusion isn’t just right. I still haven’t quite got the hang of it…

 

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