The last day of the year, so I’m taking a look at the very end of a story. The story ending is the last visual the reader/audience has. Just as the beginning draws the audience into the story immediately, the ending is the last emotional hook. The ending is the place where the audience, not necessarily the protagonist, gets the last emotional hit. A hit that can remain for years.
Once your protagonist has conquered all her obstructions and difficulties and won, you want to get to the end as quickly as possible. The difference between a good story and a strong one can be the last sequence/image that stays with your audience. Even better if they leave with a short, pithy quote or singing a song.
These are a few of my favorite very last image endings:
The Seven Samauri
The Big Night
A Taste of Others
These endings sum up the very last emotion.
Chinatown almost qualifies but the line “As little as possible” comes a few seconds early with following dialogue from others and more visuals after that.
The ending is the one last feeling you give your audience.
Happy New Year! To great beginnings, middles and ends.