the aftermath

We’ve been eating leftovers for two days. It’s the happy aftermath of the excess of cooking I succumbed to on Thanksgiving.

What can I say? I like to cook and it’s been a long year of no entertaining. Give me an inch and I took a mile. 

In your story, your hero too has overdelivered in the third act — and she too has something to show for it. She was willing to risk it all and sacrifice herself for the sake of others. She’s almost certainly had some kind of brush with death, either literally or symbolically.

She left it all on the field. And it has made a difference.

The struggle was not for nothing. Your hero’s journey of transformation was fulfilled. The change is irrevocable and full of meaning. What was lost has been found. That which needed healing has been healed. 

This is true not only of your hero, but of the larger world. A kingdom has been put right, a false or bad ruler has been dispatched and peace restored, a long-lost parent has been found and a family reunited, a barren landscape has been brought back to verdant life.

Reader, she married him, and all is now as it should be.

Giving your hero what she wants makes for a happy ending, but you can do better than merely happy. Let your readers know the full impact that your hero’s adventure has had upon the world of the story.

Remember, your readers took this long and dangerous journey, too! They deserve to know what it’s all been for. Happy endings are fine, but a deeply satisfying ending is even better.

(And yes: tragic heroes or antiheroes often end up being the sacrifice that puts the world right at the end. Alas, poor Hamlet! But these endings are deeply satisfying as well.)

TIP: For an ending that feels truly satisfying, make sure your hero’s struggle has made an impact that goes beyond the merely personal. 

Good writing is my jam! Put me on the mailing list, please.

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