Considering my last post about eradicating cliché’s, I’ll try to refrain from saying, “all’s well that ends well,” but like most clichéd sayings there’s some truth in it. A pleasing article ending is like a pleasant dessert. It’s the cup of coffee or the satisfying tiramisu that completes the meal. It doesn’t trail off, or leave you dangling on the edge of understanding.
I will admit closing strong is one thing that is not easy for me, but because of this, when I do it well it’s satisfying to me, which I hope transfers to the reader as well.
A couple of months ago I shared eight grand ways to open an article. Some of those same ways for opening an article can be used for closing. Although, the shocking statement usually works better at the beginning than at the end, as does an anecdote or joke. I’ll only mention ones in this post that are different from openings or that could use some additional explanation.
One method is to look back at your opening. You don’t want to simply repeat what you said at the start but you can bring the article back to its beginning and cleverly tie it back in.
If you started your article about tooth decay with an interesting quote, such as, “Chewing bubble gum for one hour burns 11 calories.” You could end with something like, “So, even though chewing gum may burn a few calories, unless it’s sugar free it may not be the best choice for your teeth and gums.”
Close For Me:
You can have someone close for you by quoting them, but choose carefully. The best quotes are ones that are not well-known and often quoted since those become cliché too. When opening with a quote, you have more freedom because your goal is to pique curiosity. You have space to elaborate. A quote at the end of an article should succinctly sum up the main point. It should fit the audience, and be self-explanatory.
An article about the benefits of working from home could end by stating, “You may end up feeling about working from home the same as John F. Kennedy did when he said of his presidency, “The pay is good, and I can walk to work.”
Note: You can open with a quote or end with one, but it’s best to choose one or the other.
You can reaffirm the major points in the article or just one. You can even bring in a final point or two you have saved for the end. This doesn’t mean repeat yourself. It’s more bringing it together and finishing strong.
In an article I sold on eating healthy snacks I started with, “In diet plans of the past, snacking between meals was looked upon as cheating. Today most doctors agree that eating between meals can help keep you on track. Just don’t blow it with the wrong high calorie snack.”
I closed with, “If you plan ahead, you can keep your cravings low and your metabolism high. You won’t blow your efforts by stopping at a fast food restaurant, dropping money in a vending machine, or by picking up a high calorie snack food at a convenience store. Here’s to your success.”
Good endings are something that come with practice, a good outline, and knowing your audience. This post isn’t a shortcut to doing them well, but some guidance on practicing the art of them. It’s my hope that it’s not only instructional, but as satisfying as the mug of java to complete your dinner, or that crème brulée that makes it outstanding.