How To Make a Surprise Ending to a Story

A good story is what a successful book, play, or film banks on. Without it, the medium of entertainment loses heart. Furthermore, if the plot of the story consists of a predictable outcome or ending, the story loses its uniqueness especially since most of the basic plot lines have been used to death. To make a story unique in spite of using a plot line that is common, you will have to mix up the various elements of the story such as the characters, the rising action, and of course, the ending. Speaking of endings, changing a typical ending of a story to something that is unexpected is an art that can greatly increase the entertainment value of a story. That said if you are looking to make your story strike the reader or viewer with an unexpected right hook at the end, then here are some tips on how to make the ending of your story surprising.

  • The revelation. One great way to surprise your readers is by revealing the hidden truths at the end. This can be done by a supporting character or the antagonist. Basically, these characters will eventually meet up with the protagonist or with someone of relevance and will explain all the seemingly obvious but hidden truths in the story, those that had you baffled and lead you down a road of different paths. Surprising the reader with this little tidbit can greatly provide an experience that is truly expected regardless if the plot has been done to death.
  • The tragic twist. This is a favorite because it is really effective. Any reader will not be expecting something tragic when the story keeps leading them to an expectation where the main character or protagonist will succeed. For instance, if your story is about the triumph of the human spirit, then you can keep leading the reader through the story where the main character keeps battling the odds of his circumstance only to be victorious in the end. Every reader will expect that. At the pinnacle of triumph in the story where the reader may think the story at an end, insert a new twist, one where the protagonist meets an unexpected end. While this may seem a bummer of a story, it does really give that twist that will surprise any reader.
  • The sudden shift. This technique pertains to the protagonist alone. During the course of your story, you will portray the protagonist as the good guy. Most stories end with the good guy winning the war, defeating the archenemy, and getting the girl. Yes, this is the expected outcome. What readers will not expect will be the sudden shift from the good guy to the bad. You can do this by leading the readers along the known road then nearing the end, insert a few flashbacks that will reveal the hidden evil agenda of the protagonist, the scenes behind the scenes if you will, that truly reveals that the protagonist is truly the antagonist.

There are many other ways to introduce a surprise ending to a story; these are merely some of them. The options are somewhat limitless so it is up to you to experiment and will really depend on the genre of your story, the plot, the character development, and the expected outcome.


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