"Final Pages, Final Paragraphs: Finding the Right Ending For Fiction" with Chaitali Sen

Runtime: 2:41:42           Original Class Date: 3/27/2021          Class Handout: HERE

Your ending is as important as your beginning. Nailing your ending determines the success of the piece.

Many of the best stories have memorable beginnings, but endings are equally important to creating a cohesive piece that resonates with readers long after they have put it down. The best endings should both satisfy and haunt readers. In this video, we look exclusively at endings. If you can nail your ending, you have solved the hardest problem of storytelling.

This recording covers endings and their role in the story, looking at examples of effective endings, common mistakes in developing endings, and exercises that help us construct and revise endings that feel both inevitable and surprising. There will be examples from published texts and questions to prompt thinking about what makes something an effective or haunting ending.

“Final Pages, Final Paragraphs: Finding the Right Ending for Fiction” with Chaitali Sen RECORDING


Chaitali Sen is the author of the novel The Pathless Sky (Europa Editions, 2015) and short stories and essays which have appeared in Boulevard, Colorado Review, Ecotone, LitHub, Los Angeles Review of Books, New England Review, Shenandoah, and other publications. Her story collection A New Race of Men from Heaven was selected by Danielle Evans as the winner of the 2021 Mary McCarthy Prize for Short Fiction and is forthcoming from Sarabande Books in January 2023. The Pathless Sky was a finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Best First Fiction, and included on Idra Novey’s Buzzfeed list “10 Books That Challenge Our Political Landscape by Inventing New Ones,” Library Journal’s “Top Fall Indie Fiction,” and Mic.com’s “25 Essential Reads to Make Women’s History Last Longer than a Month.” She holds an MFA in Fiction from Hunter College and lives in Smithville, Texas.