Know Your Ending

via juliettefay.com

via juliettefay.com

I always know the ending to a story.

For news stories it’s much easier because it’s the least important thing you want in the story. That’s pretty straightforward.

You learn that in school and you keep it that way. News stories are great, but there’s not much in the way of getting too creative with them. You have to make them cuttable, as well, because you have to expect that it could at some point.

Of course, no one likes getting their stories cut. It’s the reporter’s job to make sure the story can be cut and still make sense to the reader. It takes practice.

For feature stories, there is a lot of room to work with.

For the creative reporter, there is a lot of things you can do.

I know of several, of course there are more, endings that features can have.

A reporter could replay the lead, which would refer the reader back to the feature angle used to start the story. I like to use this one because it ties everything together and has a definitive ending. Not being as creative as most, I can easily pull the “lead replay” angle a lot. I have this obsession with making sure stories have definitive endings.

A reporter could also use a quote, preferably a powerful or distinct one, to tie the story together. This ending works great, in my opinion, with a story that has a strong theme that readers can relate to. It’s nice to use quotes liberally in most stories, so when you are given the opportunity, ending a feature with one is a great idea.

I’ve always wanted to do a “surprise” ending, but, in just over a year, I’ve yet to find the right use for it in any of the stories that I’ve written. I’m not sure exactly how it would work, but it’s always intrigued me. Then again, it’s not always nice to freak out the readers. Sometimes being completely straightforward is the best way to go. Either way, it all depends on the story.

One ending to stay away from is the “sermon” ending. Make the ending short and sweet. Obviously, each story is different, but be sure you don’t “drag” the reader through an ending. I know that’s easier said then done, but it’s important to keep that in mind. Stories need an ending, not another story, to close them out.

The End

Jonathan

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