Your Story’s Closing Line: 7 Practical Tips

I’m a firm advocate of the line of thought that your story’s final sentence is the most powerful line of the whole book. That one line has the power of thousands and thousands of words behind it, and it can and should pack a punch. Here are seven practical ways to write a solid closing line, compiled from my own reading and writing experience.

#1 Make it unique to your story

If your closing line could be used in any other story, change it so that it only works for yours. Don’t settle for the generic “And they lived happily ever after.”

#2 Make it meaningful

Your closing line shouldn’t be random or empty. It carries a lot of weight, and it should reflect the drive behind your whole novel.

#3 Reflect the tone of your novel

If the overarching tone of your novel is cheerful, a sad last sentence will seem awkward and out of place.

#4 Make it emotional

This is very important! Your readers have just spent hours, days, and weeks suffering alongside your cast of characters. They deserve a last sentence that appeals to their emotions and leaves them wanting more.

Note: by emotional, I don’t necessarily mean sad. Simply engage your reader’s various emotions. (Sad works, though.)

#5 Keep it short

Short sentences are more impacting, and your last sentence needs to be as impacting as possible.

#6 Relate it to the story

Avoid last sentences that have nothing to do with the story. Readers should be able to say “Oh, I get it! It ended like that because…”

#7 Circularity is your friend

You get bonus points from your reader if the last sentence strikes a familiar chord. An extreme example would be having the last sentence and the first sentence be the same, or very similar. Or, you could have the last sentence be something that was repeated throughout the novel and now carries extra meaning. It’s up to you!

The bottom line is this: the last sentence in your novel is the final chance you have to connect with the reader. Make it emotionally satisfying, unique to your story, put time and effort into it, and make your readers want to come back for more. Don’t settle!

What do you do to choose the last line in your novel? What are some of your favorite closing lines from books you’ve read or written? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section!


11 thoughts on “Your Story’s Closing Line: 7 Practical Tips

  1. Love the post, and I agree the closing line is what lingers with the reader it needs to be deep and emotionally connecting, it needs to say so much yet in very little words. This applies to articles, short reads, poems, stories etc because even though the story may have high and low points throughout the book, your ending should seal it with definitely a high point, for this always stays as the last thought on the readers mind.

    Hmm some endings, there’s a few. I’ll come back to you on this one.


  2. “Well, I’m back.” – Sam Gamgee. Definitely a favorite closing line.

    In a book I’m working on right now, a character repeats the phrase “I’ll see you after” quite a bit. It’s also the last line of the book. #7 for the win! 🙂 Great post

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was actually thinking about this the other day, my last line is way too generic. I might have another go writing a more punchy & quirky ending, thanks for the tips!! (My last line goes something like ‘she had found her true home … Bla bla bla) lol


  4. Excellent advice. Sometimes, writers worry so much about hooking the reader with a strong beginning that they forget that if a reader finishes a book, they’ll be judging it as a whole.

    Now I’ve started thinking about all the last lines I’ve read. Unfortunately, I can’t remember many which probably means that most last lines I’ve read were not good.

    Liked by 1 person

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