If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story. — Orson Welles
When you’re telling a story, it’s vital that you keep a sense of your ending in your mind. You don’t need to know the exact ending before you write it, but you should have a sense of how it will feel to the reader. Happy? Sad? Mixed?
The reason that the ending is so important is because it determines the meaning of everything that comes before.
The reason that the ending is so important is because it determines the meaning of everything that comes before. If you read a story of a warrior who betrays a friend in battle, and it ends with the warrior being crowned king, the story holds one meaning. If you read the same story, and it ends later—with the king dedicating his life to raising his dead friend’s child, it means something else. In the words of Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over til it’s over.” And, as writers, we decide when that moment falls.
Your Intention Matters
It’s also important to bear this in mind when we tell ourselves a story about our own lives and our own writing. When we are struggling, it’s vital to remind ourselves that this is not where the story ends. It does not mean that we should give up, or even take our foot off the gas. It means that we must keep our own future firmly in our minds. It means that we must continue to write, and to learn, and to be the people we are in the process of becoming. Regardless of events or circumstances, we write our own destinies day by day. Always hold that future in your mind, and write on.