If you want to know how to write an effective conclusion, here is how!
When writing such for your feature story or essay, you could follow the tips on my previous blog entry entitled “Dos and Donts in Writing an Effective Feature Lead”, because the principles behind writing good and effective leads or introductions and conclusions are basically the same. There are but a few extra things to take note of when writing a conclusion for your composition.
I have always believed that leads or introductions and conclusions are equally important; therefore the impact they both make should be of the same level of strength. But when I have written a feature story about the death of former Philippine President Cory Aquino wherein people who have read it, as stated in the comments they have left at the bottom of my story, only brought out feelings and ideas pertaining to the thought I presented at the conclusion; nothing about my lead, body, or any part of my 800+-word feature story, I have realized that the real impact of a certain story is made in the conclusion, and that the things which will stay stamped on readers minds are those which are presented on the ending.
But this does not mean that the importance of the lead and the body are diminished. It does not make them less essential. I told my favorite feature writing student — the body is important, the lead in more important, and the conclusion is the most important.
So here are some tips on how to write an effective conclusion:
- Sustain or even intensify the eagerness your readers feel upon reading your lead and body by leveling up the element of interest or intrigue in your words or writing style.
- Leave a moral lesson. Present the biggest lesson in the conclusion; some sort of moral lesson just like parables where there is always such at the end of the story.
- Leave something your readers will answer or ponder about. Your feature story is effective when you can motivate your readers to think or search for answers. Ask a significant question, something that is worth your readers efforts to look for answers, something they could relate to,
- Leave a direct or indirect quotation from someone, or a book, song, story, poem, or line in a movie.
- Leave an exclamatory sentence. Using the exclamation point itself where instinctively connotes a strong emotion, will bring an equally strong effect to your readers. But this still depends on how you present the ideas in your exclamatory sentence.
- Do not force your story to end. It will be easily noticed if your feature story ended abruptly. You could write a good ending, but if you do not have a smooth transition from your body to your conclusion, it would still be less effective. The conclusion, which is basically the last paragraph of your feature story needs the support or help of the last few paragraphs or the last paragraph of the body. They should sort of “introduce” the conclusion. They should gradually give your readers the getting-near-the-end feeling, so that it won’t feel like it was forced to end.
- Make sure your conclusion is not hanging. Make sure it has a sense of finality.The readers will easily feel if your story has a hanging ending; and its impact are anything but positive. It would be disappointing having to read a well-written lead and body with a lame or sloppy conclusion. It would also be annoying taking the time to read a feature story which basically went no where.
- Make your conclusion the equalizer of your feature story. If the focus or topic is based on anything negative, your ending should make the over-all feeling positive to your readers. Even if you are writing about tragedy, your conclusion should radiate a sense of good fortune, blessing, or luck. Even if you are writing about failure or death, your conclusion should suggest a strong sense of success or a new beginning. Same also goes with a feature story that revolves around misery and struggle, your ending should be with a tinge of lessons learned, comfort, and relief.
I hope the above listed tips will help you on how to write an effective conclusion!