If you’ve ever been captivated by a novel or short story, you know how important a powerful ending can be.
The final sentence, in particular, can leave an indelible mark on your reader’s mind, making them feel a whole range of emotions–from awe to heartache, satisfaction to curiosity. That’s precisely why we’ve put together this ultimate guide for you.
In this journey, we’ll go deep into the art and science of writing compelling concluding sentences, exploring various techniques, and understanding how to avoid common pitfalls.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have the tools and knowledge you need to craft concluding sentences that linger in your readers’ thoughts long after they’ve turned the final page of your story.
Let’s dive in and explore the world of powerful endings.
Understanding the Role of a Concluding Sentence
Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about what a concluding sentence is and why it’s crucial in fiction writing:
Definition of a Concluding Sentence: More Than Just the End
A concluding sentence is more than just the final sentence in a stand-alone paragraph or a paragraph that’s part of a story.
It’s the culmination of everything that has come before, an opportunity to wrap up the main ideas, themes, and emotions you’ve presented.
In essence, the concluding sentence is your chance to leave a lasting impression on the reader, ensuring that your story resonates with them long after they’ve finished reading.
Think of a concluding sentence as the cherry on top of a sundae or the final note in a symphony. It’s the part that brings everything together and leaves your reader with a sense of completion, satisfaction, or perhaps even a yearning for more.
Functions of a Concluding Sentence in Fiction Writing
In fiction, a concluding sentence serves several critical purposes, each of which contributes to the overall reading experience:
- Summing up the main ideas or events: A concluding sentence should provide a concise summary of the main points or events in the paragraph or story, effectively tying everything together and reminding the reader of the key takeaways.
- Evoking emotion: A powerful concluding sentence can evoke a wide range of emotions in your readers, from happiness to sadness, fear to excitement. By tapping into the reader’s emotions, you create a memorable and engaging experience that will stay with them long after they’ve finished your story.
- Providing closure or creating intrigue: Depending on the nature of your story and the intended effect on the reader, your concluding sentence can either provide a sense of closure, neatly wrapping up the narrative, or create a sense of intrigue, sparking curiosity about what might happen next or leaving questions unanswered. This decision is crucial, as it shapes the reader’s final impression of your story.
How a Concluding Sentence Can Impact Reader Experience
A well-crafted concluding sentence can significantly impact the reader’s experience, leaving them emotionally invested in your story, satisfied with the resolution, or itching to know what happens next.
By effectively tying together the narrative, evoking emotion, and providing closure or intrigue, a strong concluding sentence can make your story memorable and leave your reader wanting more.
On the other hand, a weak concluding sentence can leave your reader feeling unfulfilled, confused, or even disappointed. If the ending doesn’t resonate with them, it can detract from the impact of your story and leave a less than favorable impression.
That’s why it’s crucial to take the time and effort to craft a powerful concluding sentence that does justice to your story and leaves your reader with the intended emotional impact.
How to Craft a Powerful Concluding Sentence
Ready to learn how to create a knockout concluding sentence? Let’s dive into some key elements to consider.
1. Tie up loose ends
Your concluding sentence should provide a sense of closure by addressing any loose ends in the narrative or answering any lingering questions your reader might have.
2. Evoke emotion in your readers
Whether it’s joy, sadness, or shock, a strong concluding sentence should evoke emotion and leave a lasting impact on your readers.
3. Leave a lasting impression
Your concluding sentence should be memorable and thought-provoking, encouraging readers to reflect on your story long after they’ve finished reading your book.
4. Create a sense of closure or intrigue
Depending on the story, your concluding sentence might either provide closure, wrapping up the narrative neatly, or create a sense of intrigue–leaving your reader eager for more.
Techniques for Writing Effective Concluding Sentences
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s explore some techniques to help you craft the perfect concluding sentence:
Using Strong and Vivid Language
To make your concluding sentence resonate with your readers, choose powerful, evocative words that paint a vivid picture in their minds.
By using strong, descriptive language, you can create a lasting impression and ensure that your story’s conclusion stays with your readers long after they’ve finished reading.
Consider the difference between “She walked away” and “She strode away, her head held high, and a newfound determination in her step.”
The latter is more vivid and evocative, giving your readers a clear image of your character’s emotions and actions.
Implementing Parallelism and Other Rhetorical Devices
Rhetorical devices like parallelism or repetition can add emphasis and make your concluding sentence more impactful.
Parallelism involves using similar grammatical structures or patterns to create a sense of balance and harmony in your writing. This technique can help to emphasize the key points or themes in your story, making your conclusion more memorable.
For example, consider the following sentence: “She had lost her love, her hope, and her purpose, but in the end, she found strength, resilience, and a new beginning.”
The parallel structure of the sentence adds emphasis and creates a sense of balance, making the conclusion more powerful.
Bringing the Narrative Full Circle
One effective technique for crafting a compelling concluding sentence is to link the ending back to the beginning of your story, creating a sense of completion or symmetry.
This approach can help to reinforce the main themes or ideas of your narrative and leave your reader with a satisfying sense of closure.
For example, if your story began with a character setting off on a journey, you might conclude with them returning home, having learned valuable lessons or undergone significant personal growth.
This “full circle” approach can create a strong, cohesive narrative that resonates with your reader.
Ending with a Twist or Surprise
Another way to make your concluding sentence stand out is to surprise your reader with an unexpected turn of events or a twist they didn’t see coming. This approach can create a powerful emotional impact, leaving your reader stunned, intrigued, or eager to know more.
When using this technique, it’s essential to strike a balance between being surprising and maintaining narrative coherence. Your twist should be unexpected, but it should also make sense within the context of your story and not feel forced or contrived.
For example, you could reveal a hidden connection between characters or an unforeseen consequence of their actions. By keeping your reader on their toes and delivering a surprising conclusion, you can create a memorable and impactful ending to your story.
Tips for Refining Your Concluding Sentences
Ready to polish your concluding sentences to perfection? Here are some tips to help you refine your writing:
Revise and edit your sentences
Don’t be afraid to rewrite your concluding sentence multiple times. Experiment with different phrasings and techniques until you find the one that best fits your story.
Seek feedback from others
Share your work with fellow writers, friends, or beta readers, and ask for their opinions on your concluding sentence. They might provide valuable insights or suggestions you hadn’t considered.
Practice and experiment with different approaches
Practice makes perfect, so keep writing and experimenting with various approaches to hone your skills and discover what works best for your style.
Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Writing Concluding Sentences
While crafting your concluding sentence, watch out for these common pitfalls:
Overloading the sentence with information
Keep your concluding sentence focused and concise. Avoid cramming in too much information, which can confuse or overwhelm your reader.
Being too vague or confusing
Ensure your concluding sentence is clear and easy to understand. Ambiguity can leave your readers feeling unsatisfied or puzzled.
Relying on cliches or overused phrases
Steer clear of cliches and generic phrases, which can make your writing feel stale or predictable. Strive for originality and creativity.
As you move forward, remember that the perfect concluding sentence should leave a lasting impression, evoke emotion, and either provide a sense of closure or pique your reader’s curiosity for more.
Embrace the power of strong and vivid language, experiment with various techniques, and never shy away from taking risks in your writing.
And always remember that your journey as a fiction writer is a never-ending adventure, full of twists and turns and ups and down, so don’t expect perfection from the get go.
With dedication, resilience, and a passion for your craft, you’ll be well on your way to creating unforgettable concluding sentences that’ll delight your readers and keep them coming back for more.
Harry Wallett is the Founder and Managing Director of Relay Publishing. Combining his entrepreneurial background with a love of great stories, Harry founded Relay in 2013 as a fresh way to create books and for writers to earn a living from their work. Since then, Relay has sold 3+ million copies and worked with 100s of writers on bestselling titles such as Defending Innocence, The Alveria Dragon Akademy Series and Rancher’s Family Christmas. Harry oversees the creative direction of the company, and works to develop a supportive collaborative environment for the Relay team to thrive within in order to fulfill our mission to create unputdownable books.
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