How to End Your Novel or Series

Some Common Ideas for ending your novel or series


So I’m busy writing the end of the Steam Empire Chronicles, and it hit me.

I’m writing the end. Gasp! It’s the END of the story I’ve spent the last six years writing. EEK! What to do! I wrote out several possible endings, even as far back as book two, but I’ve compiled this blog post to help other people who may be struggling with how to end their own novel or series. As far as I see it, there are several standard ways to end a story. What matters is the twist.

The Expected

The good guys win, the boy gets the girl (or boy, or alien, or robot), the magical treasure that prevents humanity from losing their minds to the chicken pox.

When to use: Is it your last book? Will there be another? It’s a one off, or you’re writing a romance novel.

When not to use: First book of a series where you’d like there to be more books. When there’s too many unresolved questions.

Good to use with: The Cliffhanger, The “No-Ones-Happy”

The Cliffhanger

Will Count Mockula save the world? Are his injuries too severe? Did Alpo the greatest parrot translator reach Lydia in time? How will we know?

When to use: Mid-series book, with another one coming out shortly. Although cliche, it keeps people coming back for more. Just don’t leave that next book for too long, as people will have forgotten the urgency that laced the last book.

When not to use: End of Series book. I mean, people really want to know what happened to their characters, good or bad. It’s worth it to kill off or otherwise end story arcs at the end of your story.

Good to use with: The Expected, The “Here Comes a Bigger Problem”

The “No-Ones-Happy”

Yes, the valiant Moldovians have defeated their enemies, the dreadful Glur, but at what cost? The border country will forever remain a shallow pall of itself for years. A little bit ‘the Expected’ and a little bit “Here Comes a Bigger Problem”

When to use: When you don’t want your book to be “The Expected”, or you’ve killed off your main character. Works very well for a sideline book or a novella set in the same world. A prequel is also a great place for this, especially if it involves characters in your main book or their ancestors/relatives.

When not to use: If you like your characters, or you’re writing the last, penultimate novel. Although for some categories/genres it could work well for it.

Good to use with: The Expected

The Here Comes a Bigger Problem

Seen any Marvel Movies recently? I swear every one ends with one to twelve (exaggeration) credit scenes that simply provide a link to another new problem to solve.

When to use: First or middle book, especially a second in a series novel. You’ve introduced your characters, now they face a bigger challenge. I did this with Brass Legionnaire, although I combined it with “The Expected”

When not to use: Last book – unless you’re writing more. Or novellas, again, unless you’re writing more. Also, don’t just make up a bigger problem to have one. You can easily get away with The Expected or Cliffhanger ending and simply link the problems together in the next book.

Good to Use With: The No Ones Happy, The Expected

Hope you enjoyed! Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments below! Remember to like, subscribe and share!

Author: Daniel Ottalini

Author of the Award-Winning Steam Empire Chronicles Series

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