All good things must come to an end. Cliché but true. The problem for me is knowing when and how to end my story. So how do I do it?
1. I think about the plot line. Did I plan a circular plot that needs to relate back to the beginning? Is this a cliff-hanger that allows the reader to make decisions about the ending? Is this a traditional beginning, middle, end story with a logical resolution? Viola, my ending.
2. I make sure I tied up all the loose ends. The characters don’t necessarily have to ride off into the sunset as the screen fades to black, but I do have to make sure I’ve answered all the big questions. Unless, of course, I want to keep the reader guessing.
3. I try to make the ending memorable. While the beginning may make a reader decide whether or not to keep reading that book, the end may help him or her decide to read anything else written by me.
4. I trust my instincts. Most of the time, I end a story when it feels right. While this isn’t fool-proof, if it feels like I’m drawing out a story, I usually am.
That’s my process. At least until I figure out a way to have my mom jump out of my story and scream at me.