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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How to write a book conclusion in three stupidly simple steps
March 19, 2021 by Liz Green
How do you write a conclusion for a non-fiction, self-help book? What do you say at the end of your book? Why is it sooooooo hard to wrap things up? You’ve written about so much stuff already—what’s left to say? How do you end your book in an awesome, not-at-all-lame way that makes readers excited to tell others what they’ve learned, eager to put their new knowledge into practice, and raving about you, the incredible author?!
As an editor and book coach, I read a TON of first-draft manuscripts, and writers almost always overcomplicate their book’s conclusion . There are really only three things a conclusion needs—and they are stupidly simple . Trust me: your big, beautiful brain is overcomplicating this conclusion thing, so let me break it down for you.
But first, do you need a structure for your conclusion?
This is the third post in a series. The first is How to Write a Book Introduction , and the second is How to Write a Book Chapter That’s Actually Good . As I said in those posts, not everyone needs a structure like the three steps presented here. If you're flying by the seat of your pretty panties and writing epic books, then go you!
But if you're not flying the g-string of victory, and you need some writing help, here are three stupidly simple steps to write a book conclusion without overcomplicating the matter.
Three Stupidly Simple Steps to Write a Book Conclusion
Step 1. remember the point of all this.
Remind the reader of the point of this book —which is usually that they want to move from where they’re currently at to a solution . Refer to the I Get It and The Solution sections of your introduction and recall some of those details here.
Length: Three to five paragraphs.
Step 2. Here’s a little recap
Remind the reader of everything you’ve taught them. You might feel like you’re rehashing stuff; that’s how it should be. Humans need repetition to learn, so repeat the key takeaway from every chapter , and relate it back to how it will help the reader overcome their current challenge. Use the If You Remember Nothing Else… section of each chapter for this.
Length: One or two sentences to introduce this recap, plus one to three sentences per chapter recap, plus one or two sentences to conclude this section.
Step 3. What’s next?
Paint a picture of what life will be like for your reader when they’ve acted upon everything you’ve taught them. Let them see the new life available to them. This will leave them encouraged and excited.
Add a call-to-action at the end. This should direct them to somewhere where they can learn more . Often this is your website. Sometimes it’s a Facebook or other social media group, or a particular page on your site where they can access an additional resource. Consider how this book will funnel readers into interacting with you, and direct readers accordingly.
Length: Three to four paragraphs.
A note about length guidelines
The length guidelines above are only guidelines ! Don’t get caught up in adhering to them. Writing is a creative process that can never be completely codified. The guidelines are there to keep you from steering wildly off-track, but you must be the judge of your own work , and write accordingly.
If you have a book coaching package with me, I’ll guide you on length as we work through each chapter and tell you if your drafts are too long or short. If you’ve hired me as an editor , I’ll look out for this as I edit your writing. Otherwise, use your judgment to assess if you’ve said everything you need to on a topic in the shortest possible way.
Additional Conclusion Notes
The conclusion will be your shortest chapter in the book. It doesn’t really matter how long it is, but if it’s coming up at the same length as your chapter or longer, you need to revisit it. (See Most Common Pitfall, below.)
If you get stuck during the writing process, drafting your conclusion can be a fantastic exercise to refocus on what you’re trying to accomplish.
Revisit your introduction (if you’ve written it) or introduction outline (if you haven’t yet) and ensure you’re tying up any loose ends. Refer back to anything you promised in the introduction and mention here how you fulfilled that promise .
Most Common Pitfall
Do not teach new content in your conclusion! Writers are usually generous people who want to give everything they’ve got to their reader. They’re often uncomfortable writing a chapter that doesn’t give more information, more teaching, and more help. However, this is the easiest and most common way of ruining a conclusion.
Your conclusion should just recap everything you’ve already said. This isn’t a cop-out; it’s essential in helping your reader retain the information and feel confident enacting it. If you overload the reader at this crucial moment, you’ll sink them. Hold back. Help them absorb what you’ve shared. They will love you for it.
What questions do you have about the three stupidly simple steps to write a book’s conclusion? Email me and ask away! I'm happy to help however I can.
Liz "One, Two, Three, I’m Outie" Green Editor, Book Coach, and Ghostwriter Green Goose Writing
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How to write a book introduction
Don't know where to start writing your book? Wondering how to write an introduction? Not sure what to include in your book's introduction? This is for you. If you're writing self-help, a guide, something that's designed to help other people by sharing your experience, knowledge, and stories, listen up for the seven essential parts of a book introduction . Read more…
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- Ending the Essay: Conclusions
So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your readers to your point of view, to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. And the impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after they've finished the essay.
The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.
To establish a sense of closure, you might do one or more of the following:
- Conclude by linking the last paragraph to the first, perhaps by reiterating a word or phrase you used at the beginning.
- Conclude with a sentence composed mainly of one-syllable words. Simple language can help create an effect of understated drama.
- Conclude with a sentence that's compound or parallel in structure; such sentences can establish a sense of balance or order that may feel just right at the end of a complex discussion.
To close the discussion without closing it off, you might do one or more of the following:
- Conclude with a quotation from or reference to a primary or secondary source, one that amplifies your main point or puts it in a different perspective. A quotation from, say, the novel or poem you're writing about can add texture and specificity to your discussion; a critic or scholar can help confirm or complicate your final point. For example, you might conclude an essay on the idea of home in James Joyce's short story collection, Dubliners , with information about Joyce's own complex feelings towards Dublin, his home. Or you might end with a biographer's statement about Joyce's attitude toward Dublin, which could illuminate his characters' responses to the city. Just be cautious, especially about using secondary material: make sure that you get the last word.
- Conclude by setting your discussion into a different, perhaps larger, context. For example, you might end an essay on nineteenth-century muckraking journalism by linking it to a current news magazine program like 60 Minutes .
- Conclude by redefining one of the key terms of your argument. For example, an essay on Marx's treatment of the conflict between wage labor and capital might begin with Marx's claim that the "capitalist economy is . . . a gigantic enterprise of dehumanization "; the essay might end by suggesting that Marxist analysis is itself dehumanizing because it construes everything in economic -- rather than moral or ethical-- terms.
- Conclude by considering the implications of your argument (or analysis or discussion). What does your argument imply, or involve, or suggest? For example, an essay on the novel Ambiguous Adventure , by the Senegalese writer Cheikh Hamidou Kane, might open with the idea that the protagonist's development suggests Kane's belief in the need to integrate Western materialism and Sufi spirituality in modern Senegal. The conclusion might make the new but related point that the novel on the whole suggests that such an integration is (or isn't) possible.
Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay:
- Don't simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long--more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas.
- Avoid phrases like "in conclusion," "to conclude," "in summary," and "to sum up." These phrases can be useful--even welcome--in oral presentations. But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You'll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious.
- Resist the urge to apologize. If you've immersed yourself in your subject, you now know a good deal more about it than you can possibly include in a five- or ten- or 20-page essay. As a result, by the time you've finished writing, you may be having some doubts about what you've produced. (And if you haven't immersed yourself in your subject, you may be feeling even more doubtful about your essay as you approach the conclusion.) Repress those doubts. Don't undercut your authority by saying things like, "this is just one approach to the subject; there may be other, better approaches. . ."
Copyright 1998, Pat Bellanca, for the Writing Center at Harvard University
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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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- How to conclude an essay | Interactive example
How to Conclude an Essay | Interactive Example
Published on January 24, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on December 6, 2021.
The conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay . A strong conclusion aims to:
- Tie together the essay’s main points
- Show why your argument matters
- Leave the reader with a strong impression
Your conclusion should give a sense of closure and completion to your argument, but also show what new questions or possibilities it has opened up.
This conclusion is taken from our annotated essay example , which discusses the history of the Braille system. Hover over each part to see why it’s effective.
Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.
Table of contents
Step 1: return to your thesis, step 2: review your main points, step 3: show why it matters, what shouldn’t go in the conclusion, more examples of essay conclusions, frequently asked questions about writing an essay conclusion.
To begin your conclusion, signal that the essay is coming to an end by returning to your overall argument.
Don’t just repeat your thesis statement —instead, try to rephrase your argument in a way that shows how it has been developed since the introduction.
Next, remind the reader of the main points that you used to support your argument.
Avoid simply summarizing each paragraph or repeating each point in order; try to bring your points together in a way that makes the connections between them clear. The conclusion is your final chance to show how all the paragraphs of your essay add up to a coherent whole.
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To wrap up your conclusion, zoom out to a broader view of the topic and consider the implications of your argument. For example:
- Does it contribute a new understanding of your topic?
- Does it raise new questions for future study?
- Does it lead to practical suggestions or predictions?
- Can it be applied to different contexts?
- Can it be connected to a broader debate or theme?
Whatever your essay is about, the conclusion should aim to emphasize the significance of your argument, whether that’s within your academic subject or in the wider world.
Try to end with a strong, decisive sentence, leaving the reader with a lingering sense of interest in your topic.
The easiest way to improve your conclusion is to eliminate these common mistakes.
Don’t include new evidence
Any evidence or analysis that is essential to supporting your thesis statement should appear in the main body of the essay.
The conclusion might include minor pieces of new information—for example, a sentence or two discussing broader implications, or a quotation that nicely summarizes your central point. But it shouldn’t introduce any major new sources or ideas that need further explanation to understand.
Don’t use “concluding phrases”
Avoid using obvious stock phrases to tell the reader what you’re doing:
- “In conclusion…”
- “To sum up…”
These phrases aren’t forbidden, but they can make your writing sound weak. By returning to your main argument, it will quickly become clear that you are concluding the essay—you shouldn’t have to spell it out.
Don’t undermine your argument
Avoid using apologetic phrases that sound uncertain or confused:
- “This is just one approach among many.”
- “There are good arguments on both sides of this issue.”
- “There is no clear answer to this problem.”
Even if your essay has explored different points of view, your own position should be clear. There may be many possible approaches to the topic, but you want to leave the reader convinced that yours is the best one!
- Literary analysis
This conclusion is taken from an argumentative essay about the internet’s impact on education. It acknowledges the opposing arguments while taking a clear, decisive position.
The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.
This conclusion is taken from a short expository essay that explains the invention of the printing press and its effects on European society. It focuses on giving a clear, concise overview of what was covered in the essay.
The invention of the printing press was important not only in terms of its immediate cultural and economic effects, but also in terms of its major impact on politics and religion across Europe. In the century following the invention of the printing press, the relatively stationary intellectual atmosphere of the Middle Ages gave way to the social upheavals of the Reformation and the Renaissance. A single technological innovation had contributed to the total reshaping of the continent.
This conclusion is taken from a literary analysis essay about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein . It summarizes what the essay’s analysis achieved and emphasizes its originality.
By tracing the depiction of Frankenstein through the novel’s three volumes, I have demonstrated how the narrative structure shifts our perception of the character. While the Frankenstein of the first volume is depicted as having innocent intentions, the second and third volumes—first in the creature’s accusatory voice, and then in his own voice—increasingly undermine him, causing him to appear alternately ridiculous and vindictive. Far from the one-dimensional villain he is often taken to be, the character of Frankenstein is compelling because of the dynamic narrative frame in which he is placed. In this frame, Frankenstein’s narrative self-presentation responds to the images of him we see from others’ perspectives. This conclusion sheds new light on the novel, foregrounding Shelley’s unique layering of narrative perspectives and its importance for the depiction of character.
Your essay’s conclusion should contain:
- A rephrased version of your overall thesis
- A brief review of the key points you made in the main body
- An indication of why your argument matters
The conclusion may also reflect on the broader implications of your argument, showing how your ideas could applied to other contexts or debates.
For a stronger conclusion paragraph, avoid including:
- Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the main body
- Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion…”)
- Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g. “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)
Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.
The conclusion paragraph of an essay is usually shorter than the introduction . As a rule, it shouldn’t take up more than 10–15% of the text.
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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.
Your conclusion should just recap everything you’ve already said. This isn’t a cop-out; it’s essential in helping your reader retain the information and feel confident enacting it. If you overload the reader at this crucial moment, you’ll sink them. Hold back. Help them absorb what you’ve shared. They will love you for it. Questions?
The conclusion might make the new but related point that the novel on the whole suggests that such an integration is (or isn't) possible. Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay: Don't simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long--more than ten pages or so.
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.
The conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay. A strong conclusion aims to: Tie together the essay’s main points; Show why your argument matters; Leave the reader with a strong impression; Your conclusion should give a sense of closure and completion to your argument, but also show what new questions or possibilities it has opened up.