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The Ending: How to End a Story So That It Sticks

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world. (Matthew 13:35, NLT

A Word For Writers

Are you wondering how to end a story? The question applies whether that story is part of an opening anecdote, a serial for an online publication, a full-length novel, or the conclusion for your blog post.

To find out how to end a story, take a peek at Jesus’s parables. His stories wrap up with a surprise twist or unexpected ending to emphasize a truth.

For instance, people in Old Testament times expected God to punish the rebellious. But Jesus told a story that turned the tables on that expectation. The Father lavished grace on The Prodigal Son by throwing an all-out celebration on the young man’s return home. And Jesus surprised us further when the father confronted the older son – who was inwardly rebellious – in order to restore him, too (Luke 15:11-32). 

What about Jesus’s story about a mugging?  A hated Samarian sacrificed to help a perceived enemy – a Jew (Luke 10:25-37). That twist has stood the test of time and across cultures. Today, a “Good Samaritan” is known as a compassionate person who provides unexpected, unwarranted help to another.

In another surprise ending, Jesus uncovered hidden truths about prayer. The Persistent Widow was inexplicitly granted answers from an unfair judge (Luke 18:1-8). In other words, we can expect God’s help in unexpected ways and from unexpected sources.

If you’re still wondering how to end a story, then speculate no more. End with a twist and expose a hidden truth. Jesus did.

A Wise Word

A surprise or twist makes a story’s ending stick.

A Word To Pray

Gracious Father,

You are a God of surprises. You don’t want me to write superficial platitudes but rather to expose hidden truths. Show me how to end a story with a twist so that it sticks.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.


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