Table of Contents
What a Good Ending Should Do
What the end of the book should not do, how to end a book (and get readers talking about it), great conclusion examples, how to write a book conclusion (& end your story the right way).
Here’s the thing about ending your book the right way:
If the reader got all the way to the conclusion, that means they read the whole book , they liked it, and now they want to wrap this up.
So don’t ramble on and on. Give them what they want.
The goal of a great ending is to tie everything together, neatly summarize your book, and then provide a specific call or calls to action for your reader.
Don’t overcomplicate the conclusion—just let it do its job, and it’ll work great.
- Clearly summarize the book: That’s the best thing you can do, not only to deliver value to the reader but also to make the book memorable (and recommendable).
- Address any lingering issues and close any open loops: The reader should feel like everything is wrapped up in a bow.
- Provide a call to action: In essence, tell the reader what to do.
- Give even more: Point them to any additional resources you have that could help them.
- A conclusion should NOT introduce any new content: This should only be a summarization of what’s in the book. You can have new stories or anecdotes, of course.
- A conclusion should not be too long: The rule of thumb is that it should be the shortest chapter in your book.
- A conclusion should not break faith with the reader: Don’t tell them “operators are standing by” or try to sell them in a preposterous way that turns them off.
At Scribe, we like to outline the conclusion using this template:
- Grab the reader with a great hook
- Restate the book’s thesis
- Summarize the chapters
- Call to action: what should the reader do when they finish the book?
This is one of the most important writing tips for any Author:
Every chapter should start with a hook. Even the last one.
This can be a story that summarizes the book, or you can close a loop from earlier in the book. But the point is, the reader should feel like they do at the end of a good movie, where everything feels nicely summarized with a satisfying ending.
By this time, you’ve mentioned a lot of different topics. Usually, the easiest and most compelling way to begin the conclusion is by referring back to one (or more) of them. Or you can add another dimension to a story you already told or tie up loose ends.
2. Restate the book’s mission/thesis
This is pretty simple, but make sure you restate the book’s thesis. From the first chapter to the final chapter, your book’s primary message should be consistent.
3. Summarize chapters
This is optional, but most good nonfiction books do this. They summarize the key points so succinctly and clearly that the reader can’t help but understand your lessons the same way that you do.
You want the reader to think about and talk about your book to their friends the same way you would if you could be there yourself. The best way to make sure they do that is to tell them exactly what to say.
That’s what this section is for.
Specifically, it’s about nailing whatever you want your readers to remember about your book. What are the takeaways that really matter? How do you want them to talk about them?
If your book is a memoir, your conclusion also needs to complete your story arc, tying up any plot threads and subplots in your storyline so you don’t leave any cliffhangers.
You might not summarize the plot points of each chapter literally, but you still want to remind your readers of the journey.
4. Call to action
What’s the first thing you want your reader to do when they finish the last word and put the book down? This is usually the final word, and it’s what you should leave them with on the final page.
Note on the call to action
A call to action (CTA) is not required in a conclusion, but most nonfiction books have them. It’s usually the very last bit of the conclusion, the final word to readers, and it ensures they know what you want them to do.
Authors generally adopt a different tone with the CTA—one that’s not just more explicitly inspirational but that’s also framed as an imperative. The underlying message of the call to action is straightforward and empowering: now that you have all the tools, go out there and use them.
This is good, and readers tend to like it. Some authors feel uncomfortable including such a direct appeal to readers because they may feel it’s unprofessional, and they can be right (sometimes).
Authors often want to be too inspirational in the introduction, and not enough in the conclusion. But this is when you can really tell your reader what to do, and be very direct.
What you do not want to do is write a glorified sales brochure. The last thing you want to do here is try to pitch them something of yours to buy.
Think about it—you’ve spent the whole book earning their trust, and now you ruin it with a bad ending that tries to sell them?
Don’t do that. Most importantly because it doesn’t work very well.
Readers are smart. They’re interested in your topic because they’ve picked up your book. If they’ve made it this far, then they’ve already read an entire book’s worth of your knowledge and expertise.
They can form their own conclusions when it comes to contacting you.
That said, if you do want to suggest they contact you, do so authentically—from a place of trying to help them , not yourself. Tell them you want to hear from them, or that you want to help them move forward.
If your website or the name of your firm is in your bio or About the Author page , that’s sufficient. Give them your email in the conclusion if you like—but only if you’re sincere about responding to them.
Ultimately, your goal is to provide so much value to them that they respect and admire you and your work, and choose to contact you because they have sold themselves on wanting to, not because you sold them.
Some authors want a more explicit CTA, such as directing readers of the book to a specific landing page. This can work, as long as the page you’re directing them to gives the reader something.
But it has to be something they’ll see as extra, not something they’ll feel should have been in the book. For example, a map or chart that is additive, but not crucial, to the content is great.
What you don’t want to do is give them something on a landing page that makes them think, “Why isn’t this in the book?” That just breaks faith with the reader.
1. Syndicating is a B*tch, by Bruce Petersen
“The most tangible stress of managing a syndication deal happens prior to close. You’re taking care of a lot of moving pieces and are responsible for a lot of money for a lot of people, and that’s a lot. Once the deal closes, that’s it. There’s not a lot happening at that point.
That doesn’t mean the stress has ended. The more experience you gain doing deals, the more prepared you’re going to be for the weird things that come up—and something will always come up. Remember when I lost $5.2 million to OFAC? I was completely blindsided that first time, and as I’m writing this book, it happened again. Yep.”
This is a fantastic example of how to start a well-structured conclusion. The author leads by talking about closing a deal, just as he’s closing his book. There’s a parallel structure there that orients the reader to the end of the book.
He also refers back to something that happened earlier in the book, then leads into a story about the same thing happening again. The new story hooks the reader while reminding them of an important point he made earlier.
2. Breakthrough Leadership Team, by Mike Goldman
“You’ve just finished reading this book, and your head is swimming with ideas. You’re probably wondering, Where do I begin?
I suggest you start by measuring where you are in your journey toward becoming a Breakthrough Leadership Team …”
Here, again, the opening lines of the conclusion orient the reader, signaling to them that they have reached the final chapter. In this case, the Author jumps immediately into helping the reader figure out what to do next.
The title of this final chapter, by the way, is “Call to Action.” It’s the theme of the whole chapter, reminding the reader of their journey throughout the book and suggesting what to do next.
3. Beyond Wins, by Mala Subramaniam
“Did the book address questions posed in the OpeningThoughts?
Why do I feel like I am on a seesaw of wins and losses in my business negotiations? Even when I win, I sometimes feel like I lost something. Tools and techniques I picked up in books and training are not foreign, so what am I missing? What will put me on the path to success? What Is the yardstick for success?
It did for Paula of the Adrift Website Case, which is a real success story.”
This Author begins her conclusion by returning to and listing the questions she asked at the beginning. As the book ends, she reminds the reader of where the journey started, then immediately leads into a new story.
While you shouldn’t introduce new concepts in a conclusion, new stories that drive key concepts home are a great way to leave the reader with a memorable application of what they’ve learned.
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Imagine taking a long, leisurely trip through the scenic Rocky Mountains, swirling around the cumulus clouds in a jet-powered helicopter, high above the peaks -- only to return to ground level with a resounding thud, followed by a hurried brush-off by your tour guide.
Rather than reflecting on how wonderful the journey had been, the final thought you would be left with is: What just happened?
As a writer, your task is to not leave your readers stuck out on a limb, literally or figuratively, waiting for a sense of closure or final resolution. Instead, the task of a writer is to provide answers -- or, at minimum, final outcomes -- to all of the questions and situations laid out within the earlier parts of the story.
Ideally, the conclusion should provide closure to the question first posed in the beginning of the novel, along with corroborating facts and details from throughout the novel.
Within the concluding material, it is important to provide a summation of the overriding message of the story, as experienced through the eyes of the protagonist.
B. Steps to producing a compelling conclusion:
In order to successfully satisfy readers, the conclusion needs to contain the following three elements:
1. Restatement of the thesis statement to bring the story full-circle, and to remind the reader of the main point of the story
2. Recap of main points in a concise, but thorough, manner
3. Reflective assessment of the events that transpired within the story, and the outcomes derived
The conclusion should offer a sensible resolution that is foreseen as being inevitable. Because readers have been made privy to the lead character's journey, they should already have a strong sense of the arc on which he/she traveled.
More specifically, the conclusion is merely intended to restate the bulk of the story's ongoing events and activities, which carried the protagonist from beginning to end.
Regardless of the specific correlative technique used, the purpose in making the connection is to make the reader's job easier, by not requiring him/her to constantly go back and forth in the novel, trying to find pieces of information to unify the theme of the story.
C. The Conclusion: What not to include
New characters, evidence, ideas or arguments -- All of these are highly unusual within the final segment in a story, for there will not be sufficient time/space to complete their storylines.
Dragging ending -- Writers need to learn how to quickly conclude a story without doing a disservice to the reader. Once the major conflict has been resolved -- then, only a brief wrap-up is needed. It is important that the writer not linger, for this tends to take away from the intensity of the story, and the relationship between the protagonist and readers.
D. Conclusion: Sequencing statements
The recommended order in which to include concluding statements, is to first start by addressing the needs of the lower-level conflicts based upon their appearance in the story, moving on to the more major conflicts, and then, finally, to the central conflict.
While you have, indeed, achieved a milestone accomplishment worthy of celebration -- you still have a bit more work to do.
A. Putting Things In Order
When writers are in the throes of composing text, they are encouraged to keep going -- to let the words and ideas flow out of them without the intrusion of mental censorship or second-guessing.
Yet, as helpful as it is for writers to freely compose a rough draft, they will then need to take the time to go back and re-read the text, checking for proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, inconsistencies, and, as a whole, how the words and ideas flow together.
The proofreading -- or, as we like to say, polishing of the prose -- phase is incredibly important, for it can make or break your review by a potential publisher.
B. Style Guidelines
AP and Chicago Manual of Style, that may dictate the presentation of your manuscript.
Such style guidelines stress the importance of producing text that is cohesive. For instance, if you include numbers with the text, you will want to stick to a set rule as to how you show these, e.g., numerical or written out.
Often times, style guidelines are very helpful, for they simplify the entire process of whether to use numbers or words, abbreviate or spell out, include a hyphen, or close-up the word, etc.
In the case of submitting a manuscript to a potential publisher, it is critically important for a writer to match the required style formatting guidelines.
Beyond the rules of formatting, many say that writing is all about re-writing. This is perhaps due to the fact that the writer often acts out of inspiration, whereby they write quickly and, in doing so, have a tendency to produce haphazard text.
D. Proofreading Tips
The following are several tips to ensure your work is publisher-friendly:
1. Re-read manuscript several times
Re-reading a manuscript four or five times is not unusual. Due to the fact that the human eye gets accustomed to seeing things a certain way, the repetitive reading is necessary.
2. Read Backwards
When proofreading, it has been recommended that you read backwards; that is, you begin on the last page and work your way back to page one.
Q. How does this help to pick out typos and grammatical errors?
A. It allows the writer to become a reader, for it takes him/her out of his/her storyline, so that he/she can simply read the lines as a hardcore grammarian would.
3. Employ other readers
After several times of re-reading your own novel, you will inevitably become so used to the word flow and sentence structure, that you will no longer have the distance needed to spot mistakes. As a result, it is a good idea to ask others to read your work.
4. Spelling & Grammar Check: limited capabilities
Do not rely solely upon spell check or grammar check. While each of these technological marvels has its very essential purpose, they fail to discern between specific words and/or sentence structures, should they fall outside the realm of what is considered to be proper punctuation and spelling.
Quite often, writers select an incorrect version of a word, e.g., dessert versus desert -- but the spell check will not detect this type of mistake. The same holds true of the grammar checker, for it will pick up anything that does not comply with the generally accepted rule.
In order to conduct a basic grammar and punctuation check on your manuscript, you should adhere the following rules:
Try and stay away from an excessive use of symbols and unnecessary punctuation; inclusion of these tends to distract the reader, rather than engage.
Colons, for example, should be used sparingly. Within titles, they are fine, and as a set-up for a list of some sort, they are also acceptable.
The problem is that many writers tend to abuse the use of colons to the point where series become lists, and thus, necessitate, (in the writer's opinion), the use of a colon.
One of the trickiest punctuation marks, the semi-colon is intended to separate a clause from a complete sentence. More specifically, semi-colons should be reserved for use in instances when the symbol could be replaced with the words, "This is what I mean." For example: "She was throwing things and kicking the boxes on the ground; she was very, very angry."
Use of Numbers
Again, as we stated above, the use of numbers versus words is often dictated by the particular style guidelines being employed. Within Chicago Manual of Style, the accepted practice is to spell out numbers between one and nine, and use digits for anything over 10. The exception to this rule is with addresses, and other indicators of location that employ numerals, e.g., "She lives at 2 East Rockwell Street, apartment 8."
The proper use of the comma is the subject of much debate. Because the inclusion of commas is very subjective, it makes it all the more difficult to discern the appropriate usage. This is due to the fact that, of all the punctuation marks, the comma has the greatest number of purposes. For instance, commas can be used to break up a sentence into two main parts, making it easier to understand.
Commas are also used to separate items within a list. The big debate, however, is whether to include a comma between the second to last entry in a list and the word "and," or to omit it. For example, "She went to the store and bought eggs, ham, and bread," or "She went to the store and bought eggs, ham and bread." While either form is considered acceptable, the question to bear in mind is: "Does the sentence read well, and is the central idea not being compromised?
F. Wrapping Up
Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending upon how you look at it), there are so many grammar and punctuation rules to consider when proofreading, we will not be able to explore them all within the confines of this article.
Yet, that does not excuse you from taking time, yourself, to brush up on the established rules and newly revised publishing guidelines. Refresh yourself with the basic rules, and do your best to impart them into your writing; that is your duty as a writer.
Because we all have a tendency to gloss over text we have read countless times before, it is a good idea to enlist the aid of someone you know, or someone whose services you may contract, to review your work prior to shipping it off to a potential agent or publisher.
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What this handout is about.
This handout will explain the functions of conclusions, offer strategies for writing effective ones, help you evaluate conclusions you’ve drafted, and suggest approaches to avoid.
Introductions and conclusions can be difficult to write, but they’re worth investing time in. They can have a significant influence on a reader’s experience of your paper.
Just as your introduction acts as a bridge that transports your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. Such a conclusion will help them see why all your analysis and information should matter to them after they put the paper down.
Your conclusion is your chance to have the last word on the subject. The conclusion allows you to have the final say on the issues you have raised in your paper, to synthesize your thoughts, to demonstrate the importance of your ideas, and to propel your reader to a new view of the subject. It is also your opportunity to make a good final impression and to end on a positive note.
Your conclusion can go beyond the confines of the assignment. The conclusion pushes beyond the boundaries of the prompt and allows you to consider broader issues, make new connections, and elaborate on the significance of your findings.
Your conclusion should make your readers glad they read your paper. Your conclusion gives your reader something to take away that will help them see things differently or appreciate your topic in personally relevant ways. It can suggest broader implications that will not only interest your reader, but also enrich your reader’s life in some way. It is your gift to the reader.
Strategies for writing an effective conclusion
One or more of the following strategies may help you write an effective conclusion:
- Play the “So What” Game. If you’re stuck and feel like your conclusion isn’t saying anything new or interesting, ask a friend to read it with you. Whenever you make a statement from your conclusion, ask the friend to say, “So what?” or “Why should anybody care?” Then ponder that question and answer it. Here’s how it might go: You: Basically, I’m just saying that education was important to Douglass. Friend: So what? You: Well, it was important because it was a key to him feeling like a free and equal citizen. Friend: Why should anybody care? You: That’s important because plantation owners tried to keep slaves from being educated so that they could maintain control. When Douglass obtained an education, he undermined that control personally. You can also use this strategy on your own, asking yourself “So What?” as you develop your ideas or your draft.
- Return to the theme or themes in the introduction. This strategy brings the reader full circle. For example, if you begin by describing a scenario, you can end with the same scenario as proof that your essay is helpful in creating a new understanding. You may also refer to the introductory paragraph by using key words or parallel concepts and images that you also used in the introduction.
- Synthesize, don’t summarize. Include a brief summary of the paper’s main points, but don’t simply repeat things that were in your paper. Instead, show your reader how the points you made and the support and examples you used fit together. Pull it all together.
- Include a provocative insight or quotation from the research or reading you did for your paper.
- Propose a course of action, a solution to an issue, or questions for further study. This can redirect your reader’s thought process and help her to apply your info and ideas to her own life or to see the broader implications.
- Point to broader implications. For example, if your paper examines the Greensboro sit-ins or another event in the Civil Rights Movement, you could point out its impact on the Civil Rights Movement as a whole. A paper about the style of writer Virginia Woolf could point to her influence on other writers or on later feminists.
Strategies to avoid
- Beginning with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as “in conclusion,” “in summary,” or “in closing.” Although these phrases can work in speeches, they come across as wooden and trite in writing.
- Stating the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion.
- Introducing a new idea or subtopic in your conclusion.
- Ending with a rephrased thesis statement without any substantive changes.
- Making sentimental, emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest of an analytical paper.
- Including evidence (quotations, statistics, etc.) that should be in the body of the paper.
Four kinds of ineffective conclusions
- The “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It” Conclusion. This conclusion just restates the thesis and is usually painfully short. It does not push the ideas forward. People write this kind of conclusion when they can’t think of anything else to say. Example: In conclusion, Frederick Douglass was, as we have seen, a pioneer in American education, proving that education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
- The “Sherlock Holmes” Conclusion. Sometimes writers will state the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion. You might be tempted to use this strategy if you don’t want to give everything away too early in your paper. You may think it would be more dramatic to keep the reader in the dark until the end and then “wow” him with your main idea, as in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. The reader, however, does not expect a mystery, but an analytical discussion of your topic in an academic style, with the main argument (thesis) stated up front. Example: (After a paper that lists numerous incidents from the book but never says what these incidents reveal about Douglass and his views on education): So, as the evidence above demonstrates, Douglass saw education as a way to undermine the slaveholders’ power and also an important step toward freedom.
- The “America the Beautiful”/”I Am Woman”/”We Shall Overcome” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion usually draws on emotion to make its appeal, but while this emotion and even sentimentality may be very heartfelt, it is usually out of character with the rest of an analytical paper. A more sophisticated commentary, rather than emotional praise, would be a more fitting tribute to the topic. Example: Because of the efforts of fine Americans like Frederick Douglass, countless others have seen the shining beacon of light that is education. His example was a torch that lit the way for others. Frederick Douglass was truly an American hero.
- The “Grab Bag” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion includes extra information that the writer found or thought of but couldn’t integrate into the main paper. You may find it hard to leave out details that you discovered after hours of research and thought, but adding random facts and bits of evidence at the end of an otherwise-well-organized essay can just create confusion. Example: In addition to being an educational pioneer, Frederick Douglass provides an interesting case study for masculinity in the American South. He also offers historians an interesting glimpse into slave resistance when he confronts Covey, the overseer. His relationships with female relatives reveal the importance of family in the slave community.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Douglass, Frederick. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. New York: Dover.
Hamilton College. n.d. “Conclusions.” Writing Center. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.hamilton.edu//academics/centers/writing/writing-resources/conclusions .
Holewa, Randa. 2004. “Strategies for Writing a Conclusion.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. Last updated February 19, 2004. https://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/conclude.html.
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How To Write A Conclusion For Your Book
A conclusion is the last paragraph or last part of the book. A good conclusion should tie together all the ideas and arguments presented in the essay or chapter. It should also give the reader some closure to feel satisfied with what they have read. If you’ve ever read a book with a terrible ending, you know how disappointing it can be to finish something only to find that it doesn’t end well. Here’s a guide on how to write a conclusion for your book to give it a memorable ending!
Table of Contents
Five elements of a fantastic book conclusion
The conclusion should be well-written and thought out. It should not feel rushed or tacked on at the end. Here are five elements to include when deciding how to write a conclusion for your book .
1. The summary
A good summary should give the reader a clear overview of what has happened in the book up until this point. It should be concise and concise, focusing only on the most critical information. This is not the time to introduce any new characters or subplots – stick to summarizing the main story. As for the ending, it should be satisfying without being too predictable.
The best endings leave readers wanting more while still wrapping up all the loose ends. So how do you achieve this balance? It’s all about finding the right mix of closure and openness. Bring your story to a natural conclusion, but don’t tie everything up too neatly – leave a little room for interpretation.
2. The impact
One of the essential elements of a fantastic book is its conclusion. The conclusion should have a lasting impact on the reader, leaving them with something to think about long after reading. But how do you know how to write a conclusion that will have this kind of impact? Here are some tips. First, make sure your conclusion is satisfying. It should tie up all the loose ends and answer any lingering questions.
Second, don’t be afraid to go big. A powerful ending can stay with a reader for a long time, so don’t be scared to aim for emotion. Finally, make sure your conclusion feels earned. Every plot point and character development should lead logically to the conclusion so that it feels like a natural and inevitable resolution. With these tips in mind, you can write a conclusion that will leave a lasting impact on your reader.
3. The lesson
A conclusion should tie up all the story’s loose ends and leave readers with a sense of satisfaction. It should also leave them with something to think about, some lesson or moral. The lesson is one of the most critical elements of a fantastic book conclusion. The lesson is the central message or moral of the story. It is what the reader takes away from the book after finishing it. Do you know how to write a conclusion for your book that teaches a lesson?
A good lesson is memorable and makes the reader think about the book long after they have finished reading it. There are a few things to remember when writing a conclusion to a lesson. First, make sure that the lesson is clear and easy to understand. Second, try to make the lesson relatable to the reader’s life. And finally, make sure that the lesson is memorable and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
4. The reminder
The reminder is another element of a fantastic book conclusion. It’s an opportunity to leave your reader with a final thought or image that will stay with them long after they’ve finished the book. The reminder can be something as simple as a single word or phrase or a more complex concept or image. Either way, it should be something that resonates with the reader and gives them something to think about long after they’ve finished the book. So how do you go about writing a reminder?
First, consider what you want your reader to take away from the book. What themes or messages do you want them to remember? Once you’ve decided on that, try to distill it down to a single word or phrase that you feel captures the essence of what you’re trying to say. And finally, don’t be afraid to be creative with your reminder. A good reminder should be memorable, so don’t be scared to think outside the box and come up with something original.
5. The question
Wondering how to write a conclusion for a book? A great conclusion leaves your readers with a question. It’s the perfect way to tease them and leave them wanting more. Here’s how to do it. First, identify the main question that your book is exploring. This is the question that your reader will be thinking about long after they finish the book. Next, create a cliffhanger that leaves this question unanswered.
You can do this by creating a scene where the protagonist is facing a difficult choice or by introducing a new character who seems to have ulterior motives. Finally, end on a note of hope or possibility. This will give your reader something to look forward to in the next book. Following these steps, you can write a conclusion that will leave your readers intrigued and eager for more.
Seven tips on how to write a conclusion
Are you struggling to write a conclusion for your book? If so, you’re not alone. Many writers find it challenging to know how to wrap up their story in a way that leaves readers satisfied. But with some planning and preparation, you can write a conclusion that will leave your readers longing for more. Here are seven tips on how to write a conclusion for your book.
1. Keep your readers in mind
When you’re writing the conclusion to your book, it’s essential to keep your readers in mind. You want to give them a satisfying ending that will leave them satisfied and engaged. Here are a few tips on how to write a conclusion that will resonate with your readers. First, consider what your readers have been through in the story up to this point. What have been the most significant challenges and triumphs? What questions have been left unanswered? Your conclusion should address these elements and provide closure for your readers.
Second, don’t be afraid to tie up loose ends in conclusion. This is your chance to provide answers to any lingering questions and wrap up any plot threads that may have been left hanging. Finally, try to end on a positive note. Your readers have invested much time in your story, so you want to leave them with a sense of satisfaction and hope. A positive conclusion will stay with your readers long after they’ve finished reading your book.
2. Create a sense of finality
When you reach the end of your book, you want to ensure that your readers feel satisfied with how everything has turned out. One way to create a sense of finality is to tie loose ends. Make sure that all plot threads have been resolved and that any loose ends have been neatly wrapped up. Another way to create a sense of finality is to bring the story full circle. If you started your book with a particular scene or event, try to end it with a similar scene or event.
This will help create a feeling that the story has come full circle and that everything is complete. Finally, don’t be afraid to give your readers a little bit of closure. Let them know what happens to your characters after the story is over. This will help them to feel like they’ve finished the journey with your characters and that they can say goodbye knowing what will happen next. Following these tips can create a solid and satisfying conclusion for your book.
3. Give readers a message
The best way to write a conclusion for your book is to give your readers a lesson. This could be a moral lesson or something they can take away from the story. It should be something that helps them to understand the book as a whole and how it fits into their life.
The conclusion should also be memorable so your readers will never forget the book. Finally, make sure that your conclusion ties up all of the loose ends in the story so that there are no unanswered questions. By following these tips, you can ensure that your book has a powerful and impactful conclusion.
4. Consider ending on a cliffhanger
Whether you’re writing a mystery novel or a drama, one of the best ways to keep your readers engaged is to end on a cliffhanger. A cliffhanger is a suspenseful moment that leaves the reader wondering what will happen next. It’s a great way to keep them turning the pages and help set up the next book in your series. If you’re unsure how to write a cliffhanger, here are a few tips. First, consider what kind of suspense you want to create. Do you want to leave your reader hanging on a physical cliff, or do you want to create an emotional cliffhanger?
Once you know what type of suspense you want to create, you can start planning your cliffhanger. If you’re going for a physical cliffhanger, try to end your book with a scene that leaves your reader on the edge of their seat. If you’re going for an emotional cliffhanger, try to end your book with a scene that leaves your reader feeling shocked or surprised. Either way, make sure your cliffhanger is big enough to leave your reader wanting more.
5. Introduce new mysteries
One of the best ways to write a conclusion is to introduce new mysteries. This ensures that readers will be eager to find out what happens next, giving them a reason to keep coming back. In addition, it can help to set up sequels or spin-offs , keeping your world alive and expanding. Of course, you don’t want to be too heavy-handed with this approach, as it can become frustrating if readers feel like they’re being teased without any payoff.
Instead, try to strike a balance between offering closure and raising new questions. And remember, even if you’re introducing a new mystery, it’s still essential to provide some level of resolution for the story you’ve been telling up until now. With these tips in mind, you should be able to craft a conclusion that will leave your readers wanting more.
6. Create a sense of hope
When you’ve reached the end of your book, you want to leave your readers with a sense of hope. Whether it’s hope for the future, for humanity, or something more personal, your conclusion should provide a sense of uplift. Here are a few tips on how to write an ending that will leave your readers feeling inspired.
- Paint a picture of a better future. Use your conclusion to paint a picture of a better future possible if we take the right actions. This can be a future in which humanity comes together to solve our biggest problems or a future in which people live happier and more fulfilling lives.
- Emphasize the positive aspects of your story. If your story has been heavy on the negative, use your conclusion to emphasize the positive aspects. This will help balance out the reader’s emotions and leave them feeling hopeful rather than despairing.
- Focus on personal growth. One of the most inspiring things we can see is someone overcoming adversity and growing. In your conclusion, focus on how your characters have grown and changed throughout the story. This will show readers that it’s possible to overcome difficult circumstances and become stronger.
Even if the ending is bittersweet or sad, highlight the moments of happiness and love that your characters have shared. These moments will stay with readers long after they finish the book, and they’ll remember the hope that your story has left them with.
7. Be creative
As any writer knows, how to write a conclusion for your book can be tricky. You want to wrap up your story while still leaving readers wanting more. One way to be creative and still give readers the satisfaction of a well-written ending is to write a “circle” conclusion. This means you bring your story full circle by ending where you began. For example, if your book started with the protagonist waking up from a dream, you could end with the character falling asleep and dreaming again.
This type of ending can leave readers satisfied and intrigued, and it can be a great way to create a sense of closure without giving too much away. If you’re stuck on how to write a conclusion for your book, consider a “circle” conclusion – it might just be the perfect way to end your story. The possibilities are endless, so use your imagination and get creative!
Four common mistakes when writing a conclusion
When it comes to writing a conclusion, there are a few common mistakes that writers often make. Here are four of the most common ones and how to avoid them.
1. Not tying up loose ends
One of the most common mistakes authors make when writing a conclusion is not tying up loose ends. While leaving some things open-ended to create sequels or set up future books is tempting, doing so will only frustrate your readers. They want satisfaction at the end of a book, not more questions. So, how do you ensure you tie up all the loose ends in your conclusion? The first step is to take stock of all the story elements that need to be resolved. This includes both major plot threads and more minor subplots.
Once you have a list, please review it and ensure each one is given proper attention in the finale. It’s also important to pay attention to your characters’ arcs and make sure they are given satisfactory resolutions. If a character has undergone significant growth throughout the story, that growth should be reflected in the ending. Finally, don’t be afraid to tie up loose ends with some finality. Sometimes it’s necessary to kill off a character or destroy a location to provide closure.
2. Being too predictable
The conclusion of your book is just as important as the beginning and middle. After all, it’s the last thing your readers will read, so you want to make sure it’s memorable. Unfortunately, many authors make the mistake of being too predictable in their conclusions. They wrap up everything too neatly, tying all the loose ends in a nice bow. While this can be satisfying for readers, it can also feel contrived and formulaic.
So how can you avoid this common pitfall? The key is to focus on your characters and their journey rather than the plot. Let your characters’ actions and emotions drive the conclusion, rather than trying to force a particular outcome. This will help create a more organic and emotionally resonant ending that will stay with readers long after you’ve finished your book.
3. Giving away too much
Giving away too much information is a common mistake when writing a conclusion for your book. You want to leave the reader with a sense of finality and resolution, not more questions. Be sure to tie up loose ends and provide a satisfying ending that will leave readers content. While it may be tempting to include a cliffhanger or tease the next installment in your series, resist the urge!
This will only leave your readers feeling frustrated and disappointed. Instead, focus on wrapping up the story you’ve been telling in a way that feels natural and satisfying. If you’ve done your job well, your readers will be so invested in your characters and world that they’ll be excited to see what you have in store for them next.
4. Being too vague
When writing a conclusion for your book, there are a few common mistakes to avoid. One of the most common is being too vague. A good conclusion should provide the reader with a sense of resolution or closure. It should tie up loose ends and leave them satisfied with how the story ended. If you’re too vague in your conclusion, readers may feel like they’ve been left hanging, and that can be frustrating.
Another mistake is to include a cliffhanger. Again, this can leave readers feeling frustrated, especially if they were expecting some resolution at the end of the book. If you want to include a cliffhanger, make sure it will genuinely intrigue and excite readers, not just something that will leave them feeling angry and disappointed.
Frequently asked questions
Here are answers to some of your frequently asked questions!
Q: How long should my conclusion be?
A: There’s no set length for a conclusion, but generally speaking, it should be about 10-20% of the overall book. So if your book is 100,000 words , your conclusion should be 10,000-20,000.
Q: What if I’m having trouble coming up with a good ending?
A: If you’re struggling to come up with a good ending, it might help to brainstorm with a friend or family member. Sometimes it can be helpful to get another person’s perspective on how the story should end. You can also try reading the endings of other books to get some inspiration. Just be sure not to copy someone else’s ending exactly!
Q: What should I do if I’m still unsatisfied with my ending?
A: If you’re still unhappy with your ending, don’t be afraid to go back and make some changes . You must be happy with how the story ends, so take the time to get it right. Remember, your readers will appreciate a well-crafted ending that feels earned and satisfying.
Writing a conclusion for your book can be challenging, but it’s essential to get it right. Be sure to avoid common mistakes like being too vague or giving away too much information. Instead, focus on tying up loose ends and providing a satisfying ending that will leave readers content. If you take the time to craft a well-written conclusion, your readers will surely appreciate it!
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Writing the Perfect Conclusion for your Nonfiction Book
September 27, 2017 By Nina Amir 10 Comments
I always say my authors “activate” in fall. They have spent their summers writing their books and then, inevitably, pop into my inbox in the first few weeks of September with freshly completed manuscripts. Their excitement to get the book off to their editor shows—but not always in a good way.
I always can tell when an author is just ready to be done writing. The final chapters get shorter and more similar in structure, and then the book ends in a conclusion that’s two pages long and sums up the book quickly before simply ending .
Conclusions often end up short and short-changed because writers feel they have nothing left to say. In a way, they are right: the bulk of the important ideas should be included in the main body of your book. But that doesn’t mean that the last chapter needs to be one that says nothing.
The conclusion can do a lot of interesting work to tie up the reading experience for the reader. It can help them think about the bigger implications of your story, the next steps they can take, or the lessons that they can learn from what they’ve read.
If you’re stuck on how to make your conclusion reach its potential, there is some good news: conclusions don’t need to be wildly innovative to make their mark. There are some basic formulas you can follow in creating a conclusion that wrap up your work in a meaningful way.
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Conclusion #1: The “Where are They Now” Conclusion
In a ‘where are they now’ conclusion, the author talks about their or their subject’s current life after having undergone the journey discussed in the book. This type of conclusion works best with memoir or autobiography, but it can also work for biography or a kind of narrative involving multiple characters going through a concrete event.
If you use this type of conclusion, be careful not to just include a rote summary of what everyone’s doing; dive in to how the events in the book link up to your or the subject’s present-day experience.
Conclusion #2: The “Why Should We Care” Conclusion
This type of conclusion is the most common one I see, and that’s because it’s so effective. This kind of conclusion steps out from the close focus of the book to explore the bigger picture into which the book fits. In a journalistic story, it’s a chance to say how the stories in a book fit in to a larger trend and why that trend is important. In a history or other more discursive book, the conclusion is a place to explain how the topic discussed in the book illuminates new information and unveils new ways of looking at a particular subject.
The important thing to keep in mind with this kind of conclusion is that you want to avoid being repetitive, as you may have discussed the “so what” of your argument in your introduction or in scattered places throughout the book. If you find yourself in this position, my general advice is to examine the implications of the book more fully in the conclusion and change earlier discussion of those implications to be more succinct.
Conclusion #3: The “What Do We Do Now?” Conclusion
A “what do we do now” conclusion works well in how-to or advice books. If you are writing a book about getting involved in politics as a young person, for instance, you could write a conclusion that gives distilled real-world tips on how someone could get involved. If you are writing a book on how to do something that follows a standard process (say, writing nonfiction books) then the conclusion could be the final step in the process, or getting started again after going through the process once.
Conclusion #4: The “Artsy Cliffhanger” Conclusion
In memoirs, journalistic narratives, or true-crime books, there might not be a clear, solid ending to a narrative. The mystery hasn’t been solved; you (the memoirist) conquered your demons a little but not all the way; the international crisis in Africa you witnessed is still ongoing. In these cases, it could be interesting to take a more artistic approach and end the book with a story that shows there is not yet a resolution to the story.
This can be a moving ending, but take care to add in extra “so what” narration if it is not immediately clear why you are not adding in a more resolute conclusion to the book.
Conclusion #5: The Combo Method
As you might guess, sometimes just following one of these conclusion approaches won’t quite be enough for your book. In these cases, experiment with combining two or more approaches. A “where are they now” structure can be the story that makes up your “artsy cliffhanger” conclusion; a “why should we care” conclusion can take the form of a “what do we do now” ending. Above all, you should think about your readers: what would they want or need before ending the book? The conclusion is really for them.
As I’ve said before on this blog, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to writing any part of a book; what type of conclusion you have can vary by the kind of book you are writing and what you want to ultimately say. But what does matter is that you have one in the first place. Like I’ve said with introductions , take care to put together a good conclusion—you owe it to your readers to keep them engaged until the very end of the book.
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October 7, 2018 at 8:52 am
Yes I too believe that conclusion is as important as is the introduction. Conclusion can have some more related resources and sum up of everything but not the repetition.
June 25, 2019 at 6:44 pm
Thank you so much for such helpful guidance. I had already written my book – conclusion and all and, like so many, I thought I was done. I stepped away from it for a while and a little more research extended the thesis in a much more meaningful way. I then wrote the conclusion again then, I wondered had I gone too far and maybe gone into related areas that had only been mentioned throughout the other chapters. I did a Google search and ended up reading this article. It turned out that I had essentially used (unbeknowst to myself) THE COMBO METHOD “where are they now” structure (or, in my case: where is the situation now), with a springling of “artsy cliffhanger”, a major coating of, “why should we care” followed by, “what do we do now” ending. And I considered my readers at this point quite considerably. This confirmed that I was instinctively on the right track and thanks to your article, I now how the tools to all my conclusions and customise the advice accordingly. The most important part of the advice of course, is to recognise that even when you think you have finished – that you maybe haven’t and, as I found in my own experience, by revisiting the conclusion – I had something much more profound to say, It was the bigger picture as you describe it and this seems to only come by taking a big step back from all that you have slaved over so lovingly and passionately – so that you as the writer actually get the significance of what you have just written. Thank you so much again.
July 1, 2019 at 10:53 pm
So glad you found the post, Maria, and that it was hepful.
November 17, 2019 at 4:49 pm
Can a case study to validate the thesis be part of a conclusion? Or should it come before a conclusion, or after?
January 6, 2020 at 3:55 pm
I would do it long before a conclusion.
August 14, 2019 at 7:38 am
Writing my first book and needed help with a conclusion. Your suggestions were timeless!
August 27, 2019 at 11:39 am
Glad the post was timely for you!
October 14, 2019 at 8:19 am
I needed that so much to he;p me get a 100 A+.
November 22, 2019 at 5:47 am
Hello Nina, Thank you for your many wise words to all who are passionate about words and putting them together correctly to help describe the vents of the story unfolding before the readers own eyes. At the request of my eldest daughter, I have been writing a book (nonfiction) about events of my own life which saw me not only imprisoned at a particular time in my life (almost forty years ago now) but also put onto life support as a consequence of the new living environment I found myself in at that same time,and trying to survive in, on a day by day, hour by hour existence. I found it very hard to write this book as in doing so I seemingly re-lived many unpleasant and hurtful events in my own mind. Where to now though? It is a massive story and I do not want to put too much detail about it into an open letter that others may see and read. I would dearly like to ask a couple of questions of you with regards to what to and where to from here? Is it possible that you might respond to give me a guiding suggestion? I would be very appreciative and would be open to share with you an absolutely massive story about an event in time which has never been told by anyone, to anyone. No media interview has ever been conducted and I am the only person out of the three people involved in this event (almost forty years ago) who is still alive and who can tell the story about what actually did happen. That is why my daughter asked me to document it all whilst i was still alive. I am currently sixty one years old. (2019) Infamous these events and this story are; definitely NOT ‘famous’ but historical and TRUE CRIME none the less. I was one who the system decided to make a public example of, … and continues to do so all of these years later. It was a matter of property and NOT one of people. I did not harm at any time, man, Woman or child, nor did I break into anybody’s private home, corner shop, department store or harm the family cat or dog. None the less, a whipping boy I was made, and I have been constantly lashed by the opinions of others who some were not even alive at the time, yet make judgement s of events they could not know about; .. simply because I have never discussed them with anybody. They look at the headline only, and not the story behind the headlines. It is indeed a fascinating story. I await your reply. With respect Stay well, God Bless Steve Mannix Australia.
January 6, 2020 at 3:54 pm
Why not contact me for a free 15-minutes session? Go here: https://ninaamir.as.me/15-min-strategy-session
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Writing a Good Story Conclusion
Posted by Doris Booth | May 1, 2022 | Writing Insights | 0 |
Writing a good conclusion to a story requires some skill. The ending is the final and most powerful point of a story. There, the struggle is resolved, and the meaning or central theme becomes clear to the reader. An effective ending or conclusion comes from the main character resolving the central problem or conflict. Ask yourself what you are trying to say in your story, then build the narrative around that thought. What is the central story question?
Every action the leading character takes must point toward a satisfying conclusion. The ending might be happy, sad, surprising, even ambiguous, or bittersweet. But it must feel logical. And the reader must care about whether the character succeeds or fails.
Someone on Quora suggests that you first, write the ending. Then write the rest. It should be easier because everything in your story should lead to that last chapter.
Even if you don’t write out the ending in advance, keep the final resolution or goal in sight throughout the whole story. The ending sentence or paragraph should echo back to–and in some manner resolve–the main story question you posed in the beginning. And remember, there should be no miracles or coincidences in the ending. The character’s actions must carry the tale to the end.
About The Columnist
Doris Booth is founder and president of Authorlink®, the news and information magazine for editors, agents, writers, and readers, ranked among top websites for writers. The company’s separate literary agency represents some bestselling authors, both domestically and abroad. Doris has sold projects to St. Martin’s Press, Simon & Schuster, Sterling Publishing (Barnes and Noble), Berkley Books/Penguin, Farrar Straus Giroux and other dominant houses. She has also been involved in rights negotiations for two hit Netflix docuseries, as well as with other production studios. The agency is not accepting new authors at this time, but writers are encouraged to use Authorlink® as a comprehensive resource.
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