The problem with many endings is that they are a let-down – unsatisfying, predictable.
What kind of effect are you trying to have on the audience with your ending? Does it follow from where you started and the journey you’ve taken us and the characters on?
Great endings somehow feel inevitable – they are what should follow-on from everything that has gone before. Yet they must also not be predictable – if we can simply see what’s happening and predict how we’re going to get there, then there’s no surprise along the way. So does the ending truly deliver what you set up at the start? But does it also come in a surprising and somehow unpredictable way?
Great endings satisfy the audience – but satisfying them doesn’t mean simply making them happy and being obvious. Satisfaction means following through, it means not having frustratingly open or ambivalent endings, it means not tacking on a car chase or a plot ‘twist’ to make things exciting, it means bringing events and story to a meaningful climax, it means bringing drama characters to a point of understanding and realization about themselves, it means keeping comedy characters somehow trapped by their shortsightedness.
Great endings fit. Bad endings jar. Great endings bring the story to the boil and then deliver. Bad endings go off at tangents or fizzle out or just stop without any real sense of conclusion or satisfaction. Great endings have an impact. Bad endings implode.
Bad endings forget the audience. Great endings respect the audience.
This information was harvested from The Writer’s Room as an educational tool. Credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom