Keep the Pages Turning
How to you know when to end your scene?
Every scene needs a carefully crafted ending. An ending that gives a sense of conclusion to a scene while at the same time leaves the reader with a burning desire to turn the page. Typically, you don’t want to end a scene at a place that makes the reader want to stop reading. An ancestor going to sleep or happily contemplating some bit of good news are great examples of scene endings that might make the reader stop.
A scene ending’s purpose is to peak interest in your reader. While you want to end the scene; you don’t want to give the feeling the story has concluded.
Selecting a scene to end at just the right time can bring suspense to the story but still keep the story logical and within the context of the story. End your scene where it will give you the most bang for the buck. However, remember, endings must be faithful to the story and must fit with your scene goal.
Options for Ending Scenes
Your scene endings must relate to your scene goal. It could be
- A direct obstruction of the scene goal
- An Indirect obstruction of the goal – ancestor is sidetracked
- A partial obstruction – gets only part what he needs
- A hollow victory – get what he wants but more destructive than helpful
Every scene should end in a way that makes the reader want to continue reading. Well thought out scene endings help with pacing and makes the reader think “I couldn’t put it down.”
Here are a few good ways to end a scene:
An impending disaster
A mysterious line of dialogue
A secret suddenly revealed
A major decision or vow
Announcement of a shattering event
Reversal or surprise—new information that turns the story around
A question left hanging in the air.
Endings can be very subtle or big and bold. They don’t all need to be big events but they should ultimately set up the reader for the next scene.