What makes a perfect ending?

by Cindy

What makes the perfect, or at least a good, ending?

I want to write a story that was told to me by an elderly friend just before she died.

It involved a mouse who was believed to be wrapped up in a package and put in the mail.

The real conclusion to this true story is rather uneventful, as the mouse was not really in the package at all, so I have told it to my grandchildren with several different endings.

My adult friends do not seem to like any of these resolutions when I suggest trying to write this story. How does one pick the "perfect" ending?

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What makes a perfect ending
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Cindy, to my mind a perfect ending is one that

a) makes sense in light of everything that came before it, yet
b) still manages to surprise.

That just-right ending is true to the characters as you've developed them.

A conclusion that isn't resonating could still be a good ending; the problem might be your middle. In other words, it can always be the case that your wonderful ending wasn't properly set up.

Examine your viewpoint character closely to help you determine the proper ending. Based on what's happened previously, what resolution would cap a journey, for that character, that feels complete?

In other words, don't think of the resolution as somehow independent of the whole story.

Here's another discussion initiated by an author who wants to start with her perfect ending.

Great Mouse Illustrations
by: Anonymous

Hello, My name is Karen Ross Ohlinger. Please look for my website, so that you can see that one of my favorite things to draw is mice! Maybe I can be your illustrator after you write your great story ending.

Best Regards, Karen

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