The trouble with writing endings is that endings don’t actually exist. Not really. Instead there simply comes a moment when we stop telling the story.
Knowing when to stop has always been hard for me. In my head, I can’t help but carry the narrative on. What happens to the hero after she defeats the evil king? What happens after the protagonist gets married? What happens to the soldiers who were part of the losing army? What happens to the rest of the universe when the brightest star in a galaxy explodes?
There is always an after. And an after the after. And another after after that.
But the writer still has to stop telling the story at some point.
Where we decide to place the ending changes the meaning of a narrative. Does the tale finish on a high note? A pessimistic one? Does it leave the reader questioning and wondering? Or are the loose ends tied up in a simple, elegant bow, a gift to the reader?
Some writers instinctively know how to create that end. I’m jealous of them. I’m jealous because I can never quite stop my brain from whirring and seeing what branching paths my characters may take.
But maybe it’s okay to wonder that when writing a story.
Maybe there is no simple answer.
Maybe there is no correct one.
Maybe that’s just storytelling.
Maybe that’s just life.