Exploring the Story Curve – How to Craft a Compelling Story (Part 4 – Comforting Conclusion)
Reaching the Climax of your child’s story is not the final part of the story-building process. While your child’s aim in building a Climax is to introduce the tension or high-point to the reader, the finishing touch for the story comes in the form of the Conclusion. In this final part of our Story Curve series, we will guide your child to seal the (story) deal with a powerful and encompassing Conclusion (for a reminder on how to craft a Climax – check out “How to Craft a Compelling Story (Part 3 – Maximising Climax).” (Click HERE to read)
We have observed that the Conclusion is the oft-neglected component of the story. Instead of bringing the reader to a beautiful, satisfying end, most of the Conclusions we have read are short, fast, and abrupt. One of the common mistakes our young writers make is to think of the Conclusion as a one-liner ending instead of a crucial component in bringing the story home. Think of the Conclusion as that comforting feeling your reader will get when they know that the story is reaching its end.
Let us share some quick tips on how your child can maximise the Conclusion of their stories!
Bring Your Audience Home – Crafting Your Conclusion
The main idea behind the Conclusion is to bring the audience ‘home’, that is, bringing them to the end of the fantastic story your child was weaved. Beyond the details, characters and tensions, the Conclusion should have an element of finality in it (even if there are some cliff-hangers / hanging components to the storyline). For your child at least, most, if not all, of the stories, they will write would involve a clean and complete end to the narrative they were building.
The first consideration of the Conclusion phase is to think about the type of Conclusion that is appropriate for their stories. There are three main types of Conclusions based on our experience. The first type is the Resolution-Solution Conclusion. This Conclusion is designed to solve a problem, concern or issue your child has introduced in his/her story. The aim is to give closure to the story or the challenges faced by their characters. While there is no need to ensure that every single issue is addressed to fruition, your child should still ensure that the main plotline is resolved. The second type is the Cliff-Hanger Conclusion. This Conclusion is rarely adopted unless it is suited for the story purpose. A Cliff-Hanger does not necessarily mean that the story must be continued (in a further assignment or episode). Instead, a Cliff-Hanger can be rhetorical in nature, i.e. using a question to make the reader or audience think about the issues in the story.
*** It makes your readers/ examiners feel involved in your story…”Will he or will he not!?” ***
The last type is the Learning Point Conclusion. This type entails giving value to the reader by distilling a positive observation or learning point for them. The aim is to motivate or inspire the reader into learning the lessons from the stories and incorporating in their lives.
The second consideration is to avoid concluding on an uncomfortable, tension point. This is different from ending with a cliff-hanger and is often used when your child’s story becomes too complicated or too long for them to end on a satisfying note. One of the more common examples of this is the woke-up-from-a-dream ending, e.g. Suddenly, my eyes flew open, and I realised that it was all a dream after all. While such a Conclusion brings the story to a close, your child’s story will end on an uncomfortable note because there is no resolution, learning point or even purpose for the story shared.
The third consideration is to maintain story coherence from the start all the way to the end. When crafting their story, your child should think about how their Conclusion would fit in with the rest of their story. This prevents a disjointed set of statements forming the story and ensures that there is a logical flow from the Characters to Conclusion – throughout the entire Story Curve. This ties in with the various Conclusion types above as well. For example, a Resolution-Solution Conclusion should touch on the central issues raised in the introduction instead of being distracted by other components in the story. You can also help your child along this planning process by always guiding them back to their skeletal plan.
Drafting the Conclusion is not as straightforward as merely rushing for an ending. Your child may be excited to finally finish the story and move on to other assignments. Instead, encourage them to take a pause right before jumping into their Conclusion. Guide them through the thought processes above to design a strong, engaging and all-encompassing Conclusion!
Draft that Perfect Story Curve
This is the final part of our Story Curve series. Beyond the Conclusion, we want to take this opportunity to emphasise the importance of guiding your child through the story preparation phase from the Characters, all the way to the Conclusion. Building a story is not easy, but it is also not an entirely daunting task. With your support and the tips in our series, we hope that we have made your child’s story designing process simpler. Feel free to share your child’s stories with us and your experiences on using the Story Curve!
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