Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023- ‘Lucky Dip – #StoryEmpire – Writing the End by D. Wallace Peach

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives 2023 where I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2022 I have selected from the archives of willing participants. If you wish to be included the information is at the the end of the post.

In this second post from Diana Wallace Peach I am sharing a post that she wrote as part of the team at Story Empire. It is the second post in a series of three and your can find the first one here. Writing the End Part One

Writing the End – Part II by D.Wallace Peach

Not all types of endings are mutually exclusive, and the goal isn’t to pick one kind of ending and force your story to conform. Instead, it’s to focus on what you want to emphasize as the most important element of your book, what final experience you want to give your readers as they close the last page. It’s how you fulfill the promise you made at the story’s beginning.

There are 8 common ways to end a story.

  • Resolved Ending
  • Unresolved Ending
  • Ambiguous Ending
  • Surprise Ending
  • Tie-back Ending
  • Altered World Ending
  • Altered Character Ending
  • The Epilog

Today I’m going to chat about the first four.

1. Resolved Ending

A Resolved Ending is the most common way to finish up a book and the perfect choice if you want everything wrapped up and tied with a bow, happily or miserably ever after. Authors frequently employ this type of ending when writing standalone novels or the final book in a series, and it easily crosses genres.

Romances rely heavily on Resolved Endings, and readers expect those Happily Ever After wrap-ups after all the emotional turmoil. Mysteries are much the same where, despite all the confusion and red herrings, the details are cleared up by the last page.

The popularity of these genres may be, in part, due to their resolved endings, which most readers find highly satisfying. These endings conclude plotlines and tie up character threads. There’s no conjecture needed and few questions left unanswered. The reader knows what happened, and has a good idea of what’s ahead for the characters.

Keeping track of plotlines and questions raised by the narrative is a good idea. Eventually, you’ll need to address how Aunt Matilda ended up in the basement and whether Rupert found his missing iguana even if those aren’t major parts of the storyline.

That said, even with Resolved Endings, there’s a limit as to how much detail you need to wrap up. Rather than adding whole chapters to make sure you’ve answered every question the story raised, you can allow readers to reach some conclusions on their own. It’s also acceptable to resolve some of the subplots right before the climax. Perhaps Rupert finds his iguana the day before the heist goes haywire!

2. Unresolved Ending

An Unresolved Ending is the opposite of a resolved ending. The overarching plot remains unfinished, and the writer leaves the final outcomes of some of the characters’ arcs unknown, especially that of the main protagonist.

This type of ending is well suited to a series or serial. It leaves questions unanswered, tasks undone, and conflicts lurking in the mist. If done well, it should raise a desperate desire in the reader to know what happens next. A new hook at the book’s conclusion is vital and a unique aspect of this type of ending. It deserves as much careful crafting as the hook in the first chapter.

Cliffhangers at the end of books are an option with serials, and readers often have mixed feelings about them. Some readers love the excitement and anticipation, while others hate being left hanging, which they’ll let you know in their reviews!

Serials (one long story told over a number of books) may leave numerous unresolved plotlines and character goals as they work up to an epic Resolved Ending. These are common in trilogies, especially in fantasy and science fiction, but they’re by no means limited to those genres. And they often don’t stand alone. The first two books of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings are good examples of serials with unresolved endings.

Series (versus serials) often require endings with more closure and, in many instances, they can stand alone. Readers of series generally understand that parts of a story will remain unresolved when they reach the last page. That said, it’s important for writers to keep in mind that not every element in the story should be left swinging in the wind. In general, a good rule of thumb for writing Unresolved Endings is to tie up subplots while leaving the main plot open as a hook into the next book. The assassin is dead, and the hostage has been rescued, but the terrorist mastermind still has the nuclear codes. Think about what threads you want to tie up, what doors you want to leave open, and what questions you want to pose to draw the reader onward.

3. Ambiguous Ending

Ambiguous endings can be thought-provoking and linger in a reader’s mind for days, or they can frustrate a reader who expects a tidy resolution. They’re effective if you want your readers to reflect on the meaning of your book, ponder what actually happened, or muse over what might happen next.

With ambiguous endings, there’s no next book. The conclusion is unclear or unknown. The author withholds information or allows several logical explanations to exist at once, leaving the reader with questions and an opportunity to speculate without having a right or wrong answer.

  • Was it murder or suicide?
  • Did the government kill the rebel or let him go?
  • Is the narrator reliable, confused, or completely mad?

Not all genres work well with these endings, but many do, especially complex stories about “things we can’t or don’t know.” Books with unreliable narrators fall into this category if the reader is left questioning the character’s interpretation of events and what really happened.

These stories still need a climax, and planning this type of ending from the start is essential in preparing the reader for the lack of a full resolution. In these stories, allowing different interpretations should be more satisfying to the reader than having a definitive explanation.

4. Surprise Ending

If you lead your readers to believe a book will end one way, and then you add a big old plot twist or completely unexpected turn of events, you’ve written a surprise ending. Sometimes, the whole story is flipped onto its head with a previously-believed fact turning out to be false.

  • The murder victim isn’t really dead
  • The jewels they’ve been fighting over are all forgeries.
  • The organ donor was her estranged father.
  • Innocent old Aunt Bettina is the werewolf!

Surprise Endings are good for toying with a reader’s emotions. Depending on the type of story, surprises can quickly lift a reader’s spirits or send them crashing to the floor. Either way, they create a dramatic shift in a reader’s experience.

Mysteries often include a twist, and fans of the genre love them, but few readers enjoy twists that show up out of nowhere. Details have to lead the reader in one direction, while at the same time, the writer must lay the groundwork so that the conclusion, while unexpected, still makes logical sense and brings the story to a satisfying end.

If a Surprise Ending is well-executed, the author won’t need a character to wrap up the book by explaining the clues, twists, and plot to the other characters. Instead, the action, character, and twist will speak for themselves.


That wraps up the Part II of our exploration of endings with four common ways to end a book. Next time Writing the End Part 3 we’ll tackle the other four types of endings before we head into the elements that make up a satisfying ending.

Which of these endings do you prefer to write or read? If you think back to some of our favorite books, did they fit any of these common types?

Happy Writing! 

©D.Wallace Peach 2022

My thanks to Diana for inviting me to share her posts including from Story Empire which is a fantastic site for authors, and I know she would love to hear from you.

About D.Wallace Peach

Best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

For book descriptions, excerpts, maps, and behind the scenes info, please visit:
D.Wallace Peach Books

A selection of books by D.Wallace Peach


One of the reviews for the Necromancer’s Daughter

Elizabeth Gauffreau 5.0 out of 5 stars A Highly Engaging and Beautifully Written Fantasy Novel!  Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 29, 2022

As a few other reviewers of The Necromancer’s Daughter have noted, I don’t usually read fantasy. However, I was so intrigued by the premise, I couldn’t resist: a humble, crippled necromancer named Barus brings Aster, a stillborn princess, back to life and raises her as her own–until she is called to fulfill her royal destiny.

I’m happy to say, I was well-rewarded for my time investment in Barus and Aster’s story. To begin with, the writing is superb: vivid, polished, and fluid, with enough detail to immerse the reader in the fantasy world without belabored world-building. In addition to the writing, the masterful characterization kept me reading. From the point-of-view characters to the bit players to the “sword carriers,” these are living, breathing people who inhabit the fantasy world the author has created.

The novel is told from three points of view: that of Barus, Aster, and Joreh, a young man who turns out to be the son of Aster’s sworn enemy. The use of multiple points of view provides different perspectives on the events of the story–a variation on the hero’s journey–thereby ensuring reader identification with each character, as well as building narrative tension. The use of multiple point-of-view characters also adds depth and complexity to the novel’s major themes of good versus evil, the lust for power, personal autonomy versus destiny, and the nature of life and death.

The novel’s main timeline is in the winter, and a particularly brutal winter it is. Wind-blown snow isn’t mere window-dressing, however. The author skillfully uses the frozen landscape to reinforce Aster’s “otherness” and fragility as someone who has been raised from the dead. Moreover, blizzard conditions and frigid temperatures pose additional challenges to overcome, over which neither she nor her antagonists have any control.

Dragons figure prominently in The Necromancer’s Daughter, which came as no surprise. However, the way they were portrayed did surprise me. The descriptions of what the dragons looked like, what they sounded like, and how they behaved were so realistic, not only did I believe they existed, they became one of my favorite elements of the novel.

I was also surprised by the details of necromancy practiced by Barus and then by Aster. The effect of necromancy on the necromancer and the light in which it was portrayed played against the trope of the obsessive mad scientist defying God to raise the dead. Their practice of necromancy was presented in an altruistic light–and the necromancer paid a physical price. I greatly appreciated the way necromancy was presented in all its complexity. As to be expected, Aster’s enemies believe it is the work of the devil, while Barus and Aster view it as a form of healing, in the way that medical treatment is a form of healing: interference with a natural process of a body that has been injured or become seriously ill. The question of where the line is between life and death and how far medical science should go to keep someone from crossing that line permanently is very much with us today.

I can confidently recommend The Necromancer’s Daughter to readers who love fantasy and to readers who appreciate character-driven, thought-provoking fiction. Kudos to D. Wallace Peach for this achievement! 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: GoodreadsAuthors Website: D.Wallace Peach Books – blog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

How to feature in the series?

  • All I need you to do is give me permission to dive in to your archives and find two posts to share here on Smorgasbord. (
  • Rather than a set topic, I will select posts at random of general interest across a number of subjects from the last six months of 2022. (it is helpful if you have a link to your archives in your sidebar by month)
  • As I will be promoting your books as part of the post along with all your information and links so I will not be sharing direct marketing or self- promotional posts in the series.
  • If you are an author I am sure you will have a page on your blog with the details, and an ‘about page’ with your profile and social media links (always a good idea anyway). I will get everything that I need.
  • As a blogger I would assume that you have an ‘about page’ a profile photo and your links to social media.
  • Copyright is yours and I will ©Your name on every post… and you will be named as the author in the URL and subject line.
  • Previous participants are very welcome to take part again.
  • Each post is reformatted for my blog and I don’t cut and paste, this means it might look different from your own post especially if you are using the block editor

N.B – To get the maximum benefit from your archive posts, the only thing I ask is that you respond to comments individually and share on your own social media.. thank you.


93 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023- ‘Lucky Dip – #StoryEmpire – Writing the End by D. Wallace Peach

  1. Thanks so much for sharing the post, Sally. I’m honored to be a part of the Story Empire team and to contribute to their blog. I learn every time I pull together a post about writing for our community. Thanks for helping to spread the word and for everything you do to support other writers, bloggers, and readers. Hugs, my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I love Diana’s writing – properly love it! – and it’s generous of her (and the others at Story Empire) to share their tips and tricks to make our writing as powerful and effective as possible. Many thanks for giving this one some more exposure, Sally.♥♥

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Lovely to see Diana here today, Sally! This particular series is a super one, and very helpful for newer writers like me. Thanks for sharing it today, and Diana, well done, my friend. I learn something new from all the great posts on SE, and this series on endings is no exception! Great job! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Pfft. “Newer writers like you.” You’re so funny, Marcia. As I recall, you were part of SE and sharing your knowledge with newer writers like me! Lol. That’s one thing I love about this community; we are all delighted to help each other along. Sally’s a great example of that too. Hugs, my friend, and thanks for starting my day with a laugh. ❤

      Liked by 4 people

      • Well, to be fair, I’ve been writing less than ten years, and know many, many of my writing friends have been at it a lot longer than that. I also know that I’ve learned a lot from everyone in our community, and especially from being part of, and continuing to follow, Story Empire. However, I still think of myself as being pretty new to it all, and always looking to learn more, especially from writers I admire, like YOU! Glad I gave you a laugh to start your day, though. And hugs back atcha! 🤗❤️

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for re-posting this thoughtful piece on book endings by Diana. Her usual sharp observations come through and I find according to this post, I use a mix of resolved and unresolved for my endings: the largest pieces of the puzzle are tied up but I leave one little niggling thread hanging…for the next book.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. A thought provoking piece.
    I’m not sure which sort of ending I like reading?
    Of course writing children’s books is a little different.
    Enjoyed this post very much. Thanks for sharing
    (Off to find out about Story Empire now)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ending a story let alone a series isn’t easy. You want readers to come back to read the next installment but you also want them to get satisfaction. I did leave a cliffhanger in my new series, which most readers were okay with, only a few didn’t like it. [shrug] Can’t win them all. Great article.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 6th – 12th March 2023 – Big Band Era, Podcast, Health, Book Reviews, Bloggers and Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.