As many writers know, the beginning of a story can be very important. This is so for many reasons, including the fact that it functions as the reader’s first impression of your work. Yet the ending of a written work is equally important. In essence, it amounts to the parting thought that the writer leaves with her or his audience. And this is why writers should pay careful attention to the way they stitch together the ending of their works. Although there are many ways to make the conclusion of a work interesting, one stands out in my mind. So let’s look at a unique way that you can make your denouement different, dynamic. Dynamite.
Make It Stylistically Different From The Rest Of The Story.
This works for many reasons, the most obvious of which may be the fact that it stands out. This proved to be the case as I perused through a book I read for seminary entitled Crossing The Homiletical Bridge. Throughout the entire work, its author consistently used scholarly language. Periodically, he threw in a colloquial phrase like “people is people” (155). And in many ways the book is very conversational. But it possesses-at its core-the authoritative and somewhat formal aura one generally associates with books and the formidable knowledge they represent. Let’s take these three sentences for example:
“Over the course of life individuals are influenced by a multiplicity of factors. These factors help to create a person’s worldview. They also assist in leading a person to hold certain non-negotiable presuppositions related to politics, social issues, and even spiritual matters” (49).
Here, the writer’s style is rational, controlled. Methodical. Yet at the very end of the work, the author adopts an incredibly passionate tone. Here are some sample sentences from the final paragraph:
“To enjoy OUR lives and ministries WE have to TAKE CONTROL of them for the GLORY of GOD. We have to DECIDE that we will go for whatever it is that we want to accomplish as it relates to our God-given calling…Do it! Press on! May God richly bless you!” (243).
Two things here stand out as fundamentally different from the mostly methodical and phlegmatic tone the writer had maintained throughout his work. First, the all-caps that characterize words such as our, we, take control, glory, God, and decide. Next, his use of the exclamation point three times (after the words it, on, and you). In essence, this loud language is a linguistic 180 that is antithetical to the calm, controlled tone the writer adopts throughout his text. Ultimately then, the author ends on a high note marked by exclamatory and encouraging remarks that urge his readers to do all that they can to accomplish God’s purposes. And it is this upbeat passionate tone that likely remains in the mind of his audience as they close the book.
As mentioned earlier, making one’s ending stylistically different from the rest of a work can catch and keep the reader’s attention. Dr. Guthrie’s denouement of his important book Crossing The Homiletical Bridge proves this point. In essence, his exclamatory edicts at the end of the book shock the reader out of the former chapters where rationalistic and methodical writing reigned. Ultimately then, changing your writing style at the end of a written work can make your denouement great. Good luck!
Guthrie, Tony. Crossing The Homiletical Bridge. Cumming: Heartworks Publications, 2010. Print.
Jocelyn Crawley is a 28-year-old college student currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree in preparation to become a pastor. She holds B.A. degrees in English and Religious Studies. Her work has appeared in Jerry Jazz Musician, Nailpolish Stories, Visceral Uterus, Dead Beats, Four and Twenty, and Haggard and Halloo. Other stories are forthcoming in Faces of Feminism, The Idiom, Thrice Fiction and Calliope.