Scene conclusions

Each scene should have a strong opening and a strong conclusion. A scene should end neatly and completely, rather than just dropping off. Make sure that you’ve given each scene wrap-up a sense of completeness and closure, so that readers don’t feel that they need to hear or see something more. Often just adding a sentence or two will do the trick. An ending written from the perspective of the viewpoint character (VPC) is the best thing to do. If you can include a cliffhanger, an emotional punch line (in dialogue or narration), an important question, a hint of interesting action to come, or some especially lyrical writing, so much the better.

Here’s how my client Brent Ghelfi ended one scene in his published novel The Venona Cable:

Rykov started back down the hall, motioning for his men to bring me along. “You’ll leave Lefortovo in only one of two ways,” he said, not looking back. “Transferred to another prison. Or dead.”

As you can see, the lines that close the curtain on a scene don’t have to be complicated or fancy. Here’s another example, this one from Brent Ghelfi’s published novel Volk’s Game:

I push him into the street and toward his flat. He wobbles off. He’s ruined for the night, and maybe for good. I set off in the other direction. Time to see Gromov now, while the anger is still fresh.

This is a cliffhanger ending that encourages readers to keep turning pages to find out what happens next.

See what I mean?

Paul Thayer