Six Superb Ways To End A Novel

The ending of a novel needs to leave the reader satisfied and should reflect the pace and tone of the rest of the story. The truth is, endings are hard. The writer must conclude all subplots and bring clarity and resolution to the conflicts the characters face.

I’m going to share six of the most effective methods for concluding your novel.


To be continued…

This method is often used to entice the reader into continuing on with a series. So that the ending creates anticipation instead of resolution. I think this works best when the overarching plot remains and the characters continue onwards with their journey, for example, a looming war.

Warning: Conclude the subplots and character journeys set out for this particular story or the reader will feel cheated.

The full circle ending.

This happens when the story ends where it started and is hinted at in the first chapter.
Either with a retrospective narrator telling/ remembering the tale. For example, in The Hobbit Bilbo Baggins starts the story by reflecting back on his journey and ends the story in the same place after reminiscing about his time with the ring.

Or the last scene can simply take place in the same setting, thus mirroring the first scene.

Warning: Maintain suspense – don’t over hint at the stories outcome.


Satisfied Ending.

This is my favourite, where all plots are concluded, all answers are answered and the characters have grown, conquered gained a  moral perspective. Typical genres are romance, mysteries and children’s lit.

Remember: Happily-ever-after isn’t the only way to create a satisfactory ending for the reader.

The Twist Ending.

Where the conclusion is a complete surprise catching the reader off guard. The dramatic twist is revealed in the last few pages. It can offer anew insight, shifting the perception of the whole novel by getting the reader to replay the events and come to a different conclusion that was previously implied. Maybe the hero is still alive? Or perhaps something a character believed in, is revealed to be a lie; or visa versa. Maybe the villain is the hero’s father… Luke!

Warning: The ending must be realistic. It must work in tandem with your characters journey, their personality and the elements of the story. It must make sense and steer clear of clichés.

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

The Implied Ending?

Life can be messy, and our novel can reflect this. Perhaps you want to leave the reader pondering about the outcome of a plot and the characters. If done well, the story arc should hint at a few possible conclusions and leave the rest to the reader’s imagination.

Warning: This requires balance so as not to leave the reader feeling cheated or confused.

The Crystal Ball Ending.

Here we allow the readers to glimpse into the future of the characters, maybe months or years ahead. The epilogue allows us to see how everything turned out. However, it must maintain the tone and pace of the story and continue to build an emotional connection with the reader.

Warning: This should not resolve the story arc.

Consider some of your favourite endings and what made them memorable for you. This can be done through films, tv series or even a treasured book. So if you’re watching Netflix, take mental notes of what works for you.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Tell me, what’s your favourite type of ending? You know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and, 2019.

66 thoughts on “Six Superb Ways To End A Novel

  1. Nice overview!
    As for me, the most important aspect is coherence with the story/setting. The ending needs to make sense. If it’s not what I hoped for but makes sense, I’ll accept it – and it might give me a reason to think why it ended differently.
    I admit I am wary of retrospective narration. I’ve read two series in this way. One had shown too much during the narrator scenes to the point it spoiled some aspect of the ending (I’d argue that making the narration happen long after the story happened is a spoiler in itself) and one had the shifts done in a way I considered a bit chaotic as it mixed the narrator’s PoV happening pretty much in the present time with the main story told retrospectively, heading towards the same point.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I’m thinking about how to end my series. I think wrapping it up works best. But leaving enough of a story for there to be a sequel. I don’t like using “To be continued” unless there is a lot more story to be told. A nice tidy wrap up works best. No shower scenes for me or dream sequences for me. Readers aren’t stupid and writers should treat them with respect.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I like the “twist ending” the most, but I think it is the hardest to pull out!
    I don’t feel I can write a novel that ends like that just yet.

    Very nice ending possibilities!
    I’ll translate this soon.


    Liked by 4 people

  4. Satisfied ending is my favorite! One of the things I hate most about trilogies is that “second book slump,” where the first book is relatively contained and excellent, the second book feels like setup, and the third book has the epic ending. That second book was so lame! Definitely like that satisfaction.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hmm… I don’t think we should generalise on trilogies.Not all have “second book slump”? Each book should stand on its own merit and be equally satisfying and I think most trilogy writers keep up their standard. For example check out @TerryTyler4’s work.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Fascinating post, Lorraine! There are so many different ways you can end a novel, but I think you’ve really captured the essence of the key types here. I LOVE endings with a twist – there’s little else comparable to when your jaw literally drops when reading a surprise plot twist – and I reckon they’re one of the hardest to write!! 😖

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Fantastic advice, Lorraine! 🙂 Endings are often the hardest part of tying up story threads together; my personal favourites are satisfied endings because if done well, they won’t leave the reader wondering about unresolved plot threads.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Loved this post, Rainy. As a reader I like endings where everything is resolved. As a writer, I like to bring out the cliffhangers 😈. Excellent explanation of ending types too, would love to give a full circle ending a try one day.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. The one that I completed I wanted everything wrapped up. I had four key characters and I wanted the reader to be left satisfied.

    One of the hardest things I had to do was take myself out of the equation and try to see what the reader wants. We become so involved that it’s easy to forget we are entertainers.

    As always, this is excellent. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Really good post. And it’s short and to the point. I like to mirror the first scene, so it feels like everything is wrapped up. I also like the twist ending. I’ve put in small twists that, to my surprise, my readers bought! Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 2 people

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  11. Such a good post! I really struggle with endings. By the time I get there, I’m so tempted to wrap everything up happily ever after but I know it’s not the most satisfying. I’ll have to take a look at my WIP during rewrites and see which one of these endings will work best! Thanks for sharing. 💛

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Sorry, slipped on the Enter key back there.

      I’m reworking some novels I published a few years back, and your blog post here truly gave me food for thought. I’m currently torn between “Satisfied” and “Implied”. Then I’ll likely end up going with the last-minute “Twist” , and finally go for the “Full Circle”.

      I hadn’t even considered half of the endings you’ve described here. It’s the most efficient blog post I’ve read in a very long time! Thank you

      John Blackport

      Liked by 1 person

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