The following post was from a writing prompt from Death to Stock Photo, where I get a lot of my images from for my posts. I am going to try to write each prompt both on Medium (where they ask to submit each prompt) and also on this blog. Please let me know what you think! — Ryan
There are three parts to every story: the beginning, the end, and everything in between. The beginning allows you to introduce your reader to you, the writer. It allows the reader to get acclimated to your writing style, any characters (including yourself) that might be included in the story, and the general pace of the story. Then you get to the meat of the sandwich-story. You develop a relationship with the characters and you make up your mind about what the setting looks like in your head, how a character sounds to you, and where we think the story might be going. We connect with the story and go through the ups and downs along with the characters. Then there’s the end. That part of the story where the author lifts the reader up and, ideally, teaches them something.
The end is my biggest struggle as a writer. I do a good enough job at pulling my readers in and selling them on whatever topic I’m talking about. Most of what I write aren’t stories as much as they are my views on the “Dad-Bod” craze or why I gave my dog 27 nicknames and how they each came to be. The beginning and the middle are easy enough for me to write (most of it comes out as a stream of consciousness which is why I’m a better blogger than I am author), but I always get hung up when it comes to the end.
What I try to do is take some of the pressure off of myself. I think I always want to make some grand statement at the end of a piece, but the best advice I’ve been given is to just not think too much about it and end it. The best messages aren’t delivered at the end of a piece, but rather throughout the story that allows the reader to connect with whatever it is you’re trying to say.
I always go back to what Danny Vinyard said in American History X about his brother saying it’s best to end things with a quote because someone else always said it better than you can. This might be true in a lot of cases, but instead of beating your head against a wall trying to think of the perfect closing for a story, just end it.