Endings in 'Star Wars'

In finishing your story, you are trying to do two basic things:

1. Make the ending seem like the consequence of everything that has happened so far - in other words, not suddenly resolve everything by have it ‘all be a dream’ or have events occur which make no sense on the context of what the reader has come to see as the story’s world


2. Surprise the reader.

This can be a tricky act to pull off, especially with audiences and readers growing more and more sophisticated as they are exposed to far more fiction than was the case, say, fifty years ago.

Details of how this is done are given in How Stories Really Work, but here’s a summary.

You have (or should have) created a series of questions as the basic outline of your plot: these need to come to a close in a fairly logical way so that the reader feels comfortable knowing ‘what happened next’.

You have (or should have) created a series of mysteries as the ‘glue’ to hold your reader’s attention: these need to be explained to some degree (in an Epic or Comedy) so that the reader feels ‘released’ from any further mystery, or left unexplained in a satisfying way (in a Tragedy or Irony) so that the reader feels intrigued and captivated beyond the confines of the story.

If the end­ing isn’t an inev­it­able res­ult of earlier events, the reader can feel cheated; conversely, if the ending is plainly obvious, the reader can feel cheated.

As author William Goldman said, ‘The key to all story end­ings is to give the audi­ence what it wants, but not in the way it expects.’

Conventional creative writing guides and