In this lesson, you will write story endings by learning how to finish incomplete stories and create sequels. Before You Begin
Writing stories can be fun and exciting. Being able to leave the real world and enter your imagination is a great adventure. When you write a story, you can invent any situation, character, or time frame you desire.
When you write a story, you begin by brainstorming. This means that you spend some time thinking about what you want to write and the topics you could use. Write all your thoughts on paper and then try to organize them into some type of structure you can follow.
The Plot of a Story
A story consists of a beginning, a middle, and an end. Within these sections, we find the heart of the story, the plot, character, and setting. The plot is the outline or structure of the events in a story. The plot is to a story as a blueprint is to a house. Without a plot, the story is nothing more than a pile of events.
The plot shows characters in action. Characters in fiction are not real people. In some stories, characters are animals, instead of people.
The setting includes the time and place of the action in the story. It provides the background for the action or even causes the action if it presents obstacles for the characters. For example, if the characters are caught in a storm at sea and the plot shows how they overcome the danger, the setting would cause the action.
Regardless of the plot, characters, or setting, each story has a resolution, or ending. The resolution shows the unraveling of the plot. Sometimes, writing a good ending can be a difficult process. Remember that it is your story and you get to make the rules. In some cases, you may not be able to write an ending when you write the story. Sometimes it is good to walk away from a story for a little while to clear your thoughts. Even professional writers admit that they may put a story away for weeks or months before they come back to write the ending. When you do go back to the story, read through it and get your imagination back on track. Don't give up! A short break often helps to get your imagination flowing again.
Stories may have closed or open endings. In a closed ending, the writer answers all the reader's questions. Some readers like for the author to tell them exactly what happened, and they get frustrated if their questions are not answered. Do you like to know exactly how a story ends?
The open ending leaves the reader with many questions about what happened. For example, one popular short story with an open ending is "The Lady or the Tiger." At the end of the story, a man is faced with opening one of two possible doors. Behind one door is a beautiful lady. Behind the other is a deadly tiger. The only problem is that he does not know what is behind which door. The story ends as the man prepares to make his choice. This is definitely an open ending. The reader is left to imagine which door he chose and what happened then. Some readers like to use their imaginations and decide for themselves what happened in the end.
Do you like to use your imagination to create your own ending?
Open ended stories can also lead the way for a sequel. Have you ever watched a movie in which the ending made you think something else could possibly happen? Stories can end that way so a second story can be written to continue the theme or story line of the original story. Stories that continue a theme from a previous book are called sequels. An ending can determine whether or not a story could have a sequel.
Stories can be modified or completely changed simply by changing the ending. A story can take a totally different turn when the ending is changed. Have you ever read a book and thought that the ending could have been better? Did you ever think of ways that the ending could have been changed?
The possibilities are endless for creating story endings. It would really be interesting to see what you and your friends would write if you were given the beginning of a story and each person was asked to write an ending. Every story would probably be very different. Creating interesting stories can be fun and challenging. Just remember that if you have a hard time trying to think of an ending for your story, RELAX! Take a break or simply experiment with a few crazy endings and see which you like best. But whatever you do, DON'T GIVE UP!!
Read the story starter below.
"Amy was running out of the castle so fast that she forgot to look where she was going. She thought she heard someone following her. Before she knew it, BAM! She ran right into a . . . . . . . ."
Assignments for Your Student Writing Portfolio:
Write a closed ending for the story starter leaving no doubt about the end.
Begin writing here:
Write an open ending for the same story starter so that a sequel could be written.
Begin writing here:
Think of a short story or novel you have read. Give the title and tell how it ended. Then, write a paragraph describing a new ending for the story.