Short stories need to
adhere to many of the same standards as full-length novels.They should have compelling/believable
characters, an interesting plot, continuity, and be well edited. But what makes the best ending for a short
I believe there are
four primary options for ending a short story: happy, sad, scary/frightening, or
mysterious (leaving the reader hanging). Regardless of which of these endings a
writer chooses, I believe it’s also important to make the conclusion a surprise
for the reader. Most of my short story
conclusions fall into one of these four general categories, and I make every
effort to disguise the story’s outcome.
The one thing I don’t think vital to include in the conclusion of a short story is a message--personal, political,
or otherwise.I think it makes readers feel like they’ve been used, especially when the ending is well disguised
and the reader doesn’t particularly agree with the message the author is trying to deliver.
That said, I’ll
occasionally sneak a message into my short stories, but never anything highly controversial
or divisive. While I give readers full
credit for having open minds and being able to make their own decisions, I also
see no reason to alienate half of my readers by taking a political or personal
stance on a contentious topic.
I write primarily to
entertain, so I’ll stick to surprise endings that are happy, sad, scary, or
mysterious.I’ll leave short story
conclusions that deliver a message to those with personal or political