Dec 23, 2017

The Write-A-Story Calendar Day 23: Getting Closure

Hey, you're almost done! The final confrontation is over. Time to end the story? Nope. You're still missing a key part of the story: the denouement. That's just a fancy French-origin word the wind-up part of your story. (The word comes from the Middle French desnouer, to untie.)

You need to give the reader a chance to breathe a little, say goodbye to the characters. What the denouement looks like depends on your story: it can be bittersweet, funny, or heartwarming, but amp up the emotion and allow your theme to make a final appearance. And how to accomplish this? Here are a few ideas:
  • Your character has been on a journey. Show her new normal. How did she/the story world change?
  • Does your final scene pack an emotional punch? (Even more important than making the reader think, in my opinion. But you should also make the reader think, if possible.)
  • Can you go back to the beginning? Bringing the story full circle is a time-honoured way to end a tale. (It doesn't have to be literal, as in a similar scene and the same setting. Even an element of the opening presented in a different light, or an emotional state, shifted and twisted, might work. Or bonus points for using your charged object here!)
  • Did you answer most of your story questions? (Not all! Always leave them wanting more.)
  • Does it feel like the characters and the world will go on after the story ends?

It might take a few tries to get it just right. Go ahead and finish your story though; rewriting is much easier than staring at the empty page and worrying about messing up. Remember, you get as many do-overs as you want. 

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