With the big scene behind us, it’s time to start wrapping things up, that means discussing what you’ll be writing in the last quarter of your story… the ending.
The scenes and summary that take place in the fourth quarter of your story are all about bringing your ancestor’s storyline to a conclusion and tying up any other secondary protagonist storylines as well. The end will offer closure for the reader; we hope the reader will observe a transformation in their ancestor and come away with a message, a teaching they will carry with them, that will inspire them to know more about their family history.
In the end, it is less about action and more about the emotional change that the climatic scene has brought about. The beginning asked a question; the ending should answer it. Your reader wants to see your ancestor achieve the wants and desires you laid out for them at the beginning of the story. The end is where that happens and where we witness the ancestor’s transformation as a result.
Consider the beginning and the end as bookends, one bookend doesn’t work on its own. You need two, to successfully contain the middle of the story and hold everything upright.
Then ending may manifest in a few ways. Your ancestor will get what they want, or they barely survive and escape to fight another day. The ending may be an epiphany for the ancestor and less about a material goal. Regardless, if your ancestor doesn’t attain his goal, the reader is satisfied with some compromise.
The final quarter of your story will include the last scenes before the final scene of your story. These final scenes should be less about action and more about emotion.
Once the climax is complete, the story goal is achieved then the conflict and tension should fade rather quickly. In these final scenes, the reader should see your ancestor react to the resolution, having obtained his goal and he has a new truth as a result. Now that your ancestor has met his goal your objective is to share his reaction with your reader.
The ending is also the place to wrap up unanswered questions for your reader and tie up loose ends. Perhaps your ancestor revises their life goals or has a new found confidence; this needs to come through clearly to your reader. You may wish to speculate, foreshadow or reveal how this story affects the rest of their life and what may lay ahead for your ancestor. It’s important not to leave any questions unanswered, or your reader will walk away unsatisfied.
The objective of your ending is to leave the reader satisfied, with logical resolutions to the conflict If you wish to write a truly memorable story, your reader should not want it to end, the best stories beg the reader not to want to close the book and are sad the story is over. Ultimately, this is what we hope to achieve with our family history stories.
In this last week, you’ll want to work on those last final scenes and summary to tie up those loose ends in the fourth quarter of your story. We will cover theme and inner journey this week, two important elements we will want to be adding to our scenes. On Friday, Sharon DeBartolo Carmack will join us. She’ll offer up some of her best advice on options for the last scene of your story, the closing image. How do we ensure we leave our reader with a lasting impression?