The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Story Endings

Introduction: Why is a Good Story Ending Crucial for Your Reader?


A good story ending is crucial for a reader because it provides closure and resolution. It ties up loose ends and leaves a lasting impression on the reader. A satisfying ending can make the reader feel a sense of completion and leave them thinking about the story long after reading it. A poor ending, on the other hand, can leave the reader feeling unsatisfied and disappointed. This can make it difficult for the reader to remember or recommend the story to others.

In addition, a script’s ending also serves a practical purpose as it dictates how the story will be concluded and how the story’s final moments will be shot. This can be a critical part of the script as it could make or break the story for the audience and the production team.

Tips and Tricks to Help You Write an Unforgettable Story Ending


  • Tie up loose ends: Before writing the ending, make sure all the loose ends of the story are tied up. After reading the story, the audience should have a sense of completion and satisfaction.
  • Keep it simple: A complex ending might need to be clarified and easier to follow. Keep the ending simple and straightforward to ensure the audience understands the conclusion.
  • Make it emotional: The ending should be emotionally resonant, making the audience feel something. The ending should leave a lasting impression, whether it’s sadness, happiness, or a sense of closure.
  • Use symbolism: Use symbols to represent the theme or message of the story. This can help the audience understand the ending more deeply.
  • Make it unpredictable: An unpredictable ending will keep the audience on the edge of their seats. They will be left wondering what will happen next and will be more likely to remember the story.

Five strategies to nail your story's conclusion ​


Source: Unsplash

Strategy 1 - The Unexpected Twist

One way to end a story with an unexpected twist and leave the audience in awe is to reveal a hidden truth or secret that completely changes the audience’s understanding of the story. For example, the detective may solve the crime in a mystery story. Still, it turns out that the true villain was someone unexpected, such as the victim’s close friend or family member. 

For example, in the movie “The Sixth Sense,” the twist ending shows that the main character, Malcolm, is dead. In “The Usual Suspects,” the twist ending reveals that the main character, Verbal Kint, is the criminal mastermind, Keyser Söze. Another example is in “Fight Club,” where the twist ending reveals that the narrator and Tyler Durden are the same people. These examples illustrate how a twist ending can completely change the audience’s perception of the story and create a memorable and impactful ending.

Strategy 2 - The Revelation or Epiphany

To end a story with an epiphany is to have the main character realize or understand themselves or their situation. This realization should result from the events and conflicts throughout the story. For example, a young girl who has always struggled with her self-worth, but after overcoming a series of challenges and facing her fears, she finally understands that she can do great things and is worthy of love and respect.

The epiphany should be a turning point for the character. It should change the way they view their situation or themselves. It should be a powerful and meaningful moment that brings closure to the story.

Some examples of movies that end with an epiphany include:

  • The Sixth Sense (1999) – The protagonist, Malcolm, has an epiphany about the nature of death and the afterlife as he helps a young boy who can communicate with the dead.

  • The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) – The protagonist, Chris Gardner, has an epiphany about the true meaning of happiness and success as he finally achieves his dream of becoming a stockbroker.

Strategy 3 - The Realization of the Character's Arc

The character finally understood the true meaning of their journey and the lessons they had learned along the way. They realized that they had grown and changed and were now a different person than they were at the story’s beginning. They had overcome their fears and insecurities and had found the courage to be true to themselves. They were now ready to face whatever challenges lay ahead, with the confidence that they could handle anything that came their way. The realization of their character arc was the final step in their journey and the end of the story.


One example of a movie that ends with the realization of the character’s arc is “The Shawshank Redemption.” The main character, Andy Dufresne, has spent decades in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Throughout the film, we see him slowly transform from a meek and defeated man to one determined to regain his freedom and clear his name.


The film’s climax occurs when Andy escapes from prison and leaves behind a letter for his best friend, Red. In the letter, Andy explains that he has been planning his escape for years and finally found the freedom he has been searching for.


As the film comes to a close, we see Red reading the letter and realizing that Andy’s arc has come full circle. He has gone from being a broken man to one who has regained hope and freedom. This realization not only brings closure to the story but also serves as a powerful reminder of the power of hope and perseverance.


Overall, the ending of “The Shawshank Redemption” leaves a lasting impact on the audience as it shows that even the direst of circumstances can be overcome with the right mindset and determination.

Strategy 4 -The Unifying Moment for the Protagonist and Antagonist

The final showdown between the protagonist and antagonist was intense and filled with tension. Both had suffered losses and had been pushed to their limits, but they were determined to come out on top. The protagonist, fighting for justice and to protect those they loved, had finally come face-to-face with the antagonist, who had been driven by power and greed.

The two clashed in a fierce battle, both determined to emerge victorious. But in the end, it was the protagonist who emerged victorious. They had finally defeated the antagonist and brought peace to their world.

Here are a few examples of movies with the Unifying moments:

“The Dark Knight” – The Unifying Moment for the protagonist, Batman, and antagonist, the Joker, comes at the end of the movie when the Joker sacrifices himself to destroy the Gotham City Police Department’s headquarters, causing Batman to realize that he will always be needed to protect the city from the likes of the Joker. Batman is left with a sense of purpose, while the Joker is finally defeated.

“The Godfather” – The Unifying Moment for the protagonist, Michael Corleone, and antagonist, Tom Hagen, comes at the very end when Michael takes control of the Corleone crime family and kills Tom, his closest advisor and confidant to secure his power and protect his family. Michael is left in control of the family, while Tom is eliminated as a threat.

Strategy 5 - Open-Ending for Ambiguity & Interpretation

One way to end a story with an open ending is to leave the reader with a sense of uncertainty or unresolved conflict. For example, the protagonist may be faced with a difficult decision or a situation that is left unresolved. This can create a sense of intrigue and leave the reader wondering what happens next. Another way to create an open ending is to end the story on a cliffhanger, leaving the reader in suspense and eager to discover what happens next. You can also conclude your story with a question or a statement that leaves the reader wondering about the characters’ fate or the story’s outcome.

Here are a few examples of movies with open endings:

  • Inception (2010) – The movie ends with the main character, Cobb, returning home to his children. Still, it is unclear if his reality is real or just another dream. The spinning top at the end of the movie is a visual symbol of the uncertainty of his reality.
  • The Sopranos (1999-2007) – The series finale ends with Tony Soprano sitting in a diner, with the camera cutting to black before we see what happens to him. This open ending leaves the audience wondering if Tony was killed or if he will continue living as a mob boss.
  • No Country for Old Men (2007) – The movie ends with the sheriff, chasing the main antagonist throughout the film, reflecting on the nature of evil and the world’s brutality. The audience is left to ponder the characters’ fate and the story’s outcome.


Studiovity is a script writing software that allows writers to organize their projects, collaborate with others, and create professional-looking scripts. It offers a variety of features, which include script breakdown; you can add your cast and crew, call sheets, payment breakdown, standard report (PDF format), and shareable links to your production team. It can also be used to schedule and budget your production, and to manage call sheets and shooting schedules. Additionally, it allows to share the script with others, receive notes, and make revisions in real-time.

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