Writing A Story Before Knowing How It Ends

writing a story without knowin how it  ends | moranchaim.com

Ending your story can be hard work. If you’ve worked on your novel for quite a while you might be happy to finally FINISH but then you might feel confused about how you should end it properly.

I’m sure that most of the writing advices you get are usually to plot ahead and aim towards a specific ending. Maybe even to realize how you want to end it and only then plot backwards (especially if you’re writing a thriller).

I used to follow these advices but I am suddenly at a point of uncertainty watching into the narrative void.

It is not a bad thing!

I’m writing my first novel, it is about a dead soldier who was kept in cryogenic freeze and brought back to life so he can fight again for “his people”. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how to end it yet.

I have all the major parts and turning points plotted, but still I can’t decide on a definite ending. A happy ending might be more commercial and appealing but a “bad” or balanced might sense more realistic and create a better closure.

You might say that I should right the better that best pleases me and forget about the reader’s experience but all these different options make perfect sense to me. Every option is resonating with a part of me that sees the world differently. One ending is correlating with my current personal life and world view and the other correlates to my previous ones.

You, as a real person in real life don’t know how you’ll end up. Well, you’ll die someday but you won’t ever know in advance how and when and what will you leave behind. That is why life is so interesting and every choice we need to take is so hard to make.

Your hero/heroine is at the same place in the story. They are making choices while considering the probable outcomes but then you (the writer) strike them with an unforeseen event that changes the course again and set forth more consequences.

This is the point where you can consider embracing this situation and act like your character. You can discover the plot as you move forward, not reaching the end until you’ve reached it, going on a writing adventure just like your hero’s/heroine’s journey. Then, when you’d reach the last chapter you will feel how you should end it, because you’ve gone through all the way and not just plotted the whole thing through an external perspective.

This might feel wrong, going against all you’ve been taught, you might feel disoriented or even blocked but I say: give it a try. Let it flow and find out how you can end it without forcing an outcome. You might realize you’ve ended it better than you thought you would.

You might go on a journey yourself!

About the Author

Moran Chaim



I never know the ending until I get close, around the two-thirds point. It’s always worked well for me. Of course, I’m a die-hard pantser. I can’t ever think of an ending beforehand. My mind just doesn’t work that way.

Christian F. Burton

While I definitely had specific scenes in mind when writing my novel “Energy Dependence Day”, the ending evolved over time. The novel I ended up publishing is quite different than what I originally envisioned, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Let your characters and their relationships grow, don’t force them into a preconceived template.

AJ Snook

For me, I write for my characters and for their specific needs. I try to parallel their experiences with my own. For example, I get some but not all of what I want. So should they. My happiness fades over time. So should theirs. I have a dark side. So should they. And on and on.

AJ Snook

Point being: The end can’t really be known until I have given the characters a variety of experiences to draw off of.


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