Stick the Landing: Basic Storytelling Elements Part 10

Welcome to the final instalment in my ten-part series where we’ve gone through the ten basics of storytelling as outlined in my guidebook The 10 Lost Elements of Storytelling – a book you can get for free by subscribing to my newsletter! In these posts, we’ve pounded out the basics of these storytelling elements, but my guidebook is more detailed on some subjects and provides examples and resources. All you need to do is say “yes” to receiving a fun, inspirational, and educational newsletter once a month.

Have you ever finished a book or movie and jumped out of your seat screaming and yelling about how terrible the ending was? (Don’t lie. We’ve all done it at least once.) 
This experience teaches us a valuable lesson: endings are key. A bad ending can destroy an entire book, even an entire series. Think about it: if something has a bad ending, do you recommend it to others? Of course not! No matter how good the rest of the story is, if the ending falls short, it ruins the whole thing.

There’s a simple explanation for this. The ending is what makes the story matter because it ties up every single element within the story. Themes, characters, plot – they all come together here. You’ve got one shot to make it count. 
So how do you do that?

By recognising that endings are hard to pull off. Nine times out of ten, you won’t just pull it out of your butt and be done with it. You’ll have to revise it, rethink it, and edit it over and over to make sure everything is wrapped up satisfactorily. Take time with your ending, no matter whether you’re a plotter or a pantser.

If you’re concluding a series, it’s even more crucial that you stick the landing. A bad wrap-up leaves an unfavourable impression about the entire series, not just the final book (take my Tuesday review as an example).

This is a simple lesson, yes, but an extremely important one, which is why it comes last (that, and it’s about endings. What better way to end a series?). Don’t be careless with your endings. It’s what will ultimately make your readers either fans or haters. Tie all your story threads together and make sure there’s the all-important payoff for the conflict your readers have experienced throughout the story.

And that’s a wrap! If you enjoyed this series on the basic storytelling elements, sign up for my newsletter to dive in even deeper. I hope these posts have helped you wherever you are on your writing journey. Let me know what stories you’re creating in the comments! 

Happy writing!

If you enjoyed this post, I hope you’ll consider donating to the blog, reading my stories on Vocal, and/or taking a look at my RedBubble shop so I can continue to produce free content!

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Photo by Pascal Meier on Unsplash

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When you write as much as I do, you have to take frequent breaks from sitting. A standing desk (not a whole desk, but a mini desk that will sit on top of my current desk with my laptop, keyboard, and mouse and extend upward) will allow me to continue working while maintaining that good blood flow to my brain. Thank you so much for your support that allows me to keep producing free content. God bless you! ♥️ E.J.


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