Here are my last three suggested endings. I have given examples of each type of ending from chapters in my own books.
- The Straight Statement Close – This editorial close consists of a few sentences or a final thought in the author’s own words.
“I needed to allow others to be themselves. When I dated someone, I tried to accept him for who he was—not for who I wanted him to be. Through this time, I always felt God had someone special planned for me. When I was ready, and my ‘Mr. Perfect’ was ready, God would allow us to meet” (“Turning Frogs into Princes,” Rest Stops for Single Mothers).
- The Stinger – This unexpected conclusion provides an ending that startles, surprises, or shocks.
“Elbows jabbed their ribs; feet tangled with theirs; the unrelenting mob moved on until they came to the place where the old man lay. Bending down, they touched the old man’s arm, now grown cold. They were too late” (“Too Little, Too Late,” Potpourri of Praise).
- The Word of Advice Close – This warning or word of advice points a verbal finger at the reader.
“Loving too much leaves us open to the danger of being hurt, but loving too little can cause us to forget how to love and forget how to live” (“Loving Too Little, Loving Too Much,” Rest Stops for Single Mothers).
Whatever ending you chose, give your article or story a solid conclusion. Don’t just let your story die. Provide the readers with food for thought that they can digest and use in their own lives to help others and themselves move closer to the Lord.
Here are seven through nine of my twelve suggested endings. I have given examples of each type of ending from chapters in my own books.
- The Anecdotal Ending – You can either end with an anecdote or use the split-anecdote technique in which you start the anecdote in the lead (or the middle somewhere) and complete it in the closing.
“Looking back over the past ten years, I never dreamed my life would take the path it has. When all I had to hold onto was a thread linking me to God, I learned to step out in faith and to take risks. If I had not been forced to earn a living, I never would have developed my current programs and ministries. After six years of being a single parent, I am now blessed with a supportive husband and a thriving business (“A Thousand Ways,” Rest Stops for Single Mothers).
- The Natural Close – Let your story end naturally. You’ve told your story. Stop.
“When Mobin visits foreign cities, as he was doing that day in the Maldive Islands, he still tells people, ‘I collect telephone directories. Do you have one I can take home with me?'” (“Telephone Directories,” Potpourri of Praise).
- The Summary Close – This ending attempts to cover the highlights of the story or to tie up all the loose ends.
“How wrong my first impression had been. I was aware that God planned that therapeutic evening. He knew I would run out of wood, and although I hadn’t specifically asked Him for more, He provided anyhow” (“A Surprise Encounter,” Rest Stops for Single Mothers).
Here are four through six of my twelve suggested endings. I have given examples of each type of ending from chapters in my own books.
- The Play on Words – Sometimes alliteration, a slogan, or a catchy phrase sticks the longest with the reader.
“Pastor Ananda’s burden for his flock, however heavy, is carried with joy and compassion. It fits him well. Each of us has our own divinely designed yoke—our own job to do. Suddenly I felt a renewed strength to wear the yoke God has fashioned for me” (“Pastor Ananda” Potpourri of Praise).
- The Quote Close – Use a quote taken from a subject, history, or other source of quotations to add finality to the article.
“Angelic flames of light and heavenly choirs, accompanied by celestial harps and trumpets, turned a scene of earthly tragedy into a scene of heavenly triumph. From what they saw that day, and from ‘God’s Carvings’, the Aucas learned what the Psalmist wrote: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15, “Dawa’s Story,” Potpourri of Praise).
- The Add-On – This close can make a point never made in the story—a shocker or something that seems natural for making your final point.
“As we walked toward the refreshment table together, I realized that my lack of forgiveness had cost us both a great price” (“Forget and Forgive,” Rest Stops for Single Mothers).
Twelve Ways to End Your Article or Story (Part 1)
Next to your beginning, your ending is the most important part of your article or story. This is also true in writing books. When your readers get to an end of a chapter, you do not want them to place a bookmark in and lay down the book without a desire to pick it up again. I have a shelf full of books with bookmarks stuck in them—books I have never finished because they didn’t hold my interest at the end of their chapters. I don’t want my books sitting on other people’s shelves unread.
Here are the first three of my twelve suggested endings. I have given examples of each type of ending from chapters in my own books.
- The Lead Replay – This is a duplication or a rewrite of the lead sentence or paragraph or a restatement of the lead’s theme.
“With the Lord leading the way, FEBC expands its ministry to move to the future as it lifts its eyes beyond the horizon” (Eyes Beyond the Horizon, Thomas Nelson).
- The Proximity Close – Tap the material immediately preceding your final paragraph for a closing.
“Next time you are in a church, look carefully at the stained glass windows. Picture yourself as part of His magnificent stained glass window. Watch the sun piercing through each unique piece of glass. Notice how many shapes and sizes are necessary to form the whole.
Remember that the Master Craftsman started with one—one piece of fractured glass. What can we accomplish for His glory if we, too, start with one?” (You Start with One, Thomas Nelson).
- The Restatement of Purpose – Occasionally, a vivid and colorful restatement of the article’s purpose makes an effective close.
“God teaches us to pray specifically. He knew that car was important to Rich’s education, so He spared it. With what took place, I learned an important lesson: When things look bleakest, God is there, showing His presence in the smallest details of our lives” (“The Fire,” Rest Stops for Single Mothers, Broadman & Holman).