Writing Conclusions that Will Intrigue Your Reader
Writing conclusions is just as important as writing compelling openings to your travel articles. My last article focused on how to start your articles with a bang! Today, we are going to look at how to craft endings that leave your readers deep in thought and feeling significant.
Many writers put a lot of thought into their ledes, or openings. As a result, an article may start off strongly, and the storyline is captivating. But, when it’s time to wrap it up, it sort of just fizzles out. It feels weak. Drab. Insignificant. The truth is that you should give as much thought to your ending as to your opening. The end of the piece should make your reader feel important. But what exactly do I mean by important?
When you end a piece, you should always ask yourself “so what?” Why should your reader care that they just used five to ten minutes of their precious time reading your article? What is the importance or relevance to the reader? If you take time to reflect on these questions, and can answer them definitively, you can rest assured that your reader will feel significant.
The best way I can illustrate this is through an example. In this piece I took my readers on a journey through the last three hours of my trip in India. I was in an airport and things weren’t going quite as expected. So what? I knew that I had to convey my final hours in an intriguing way. I mean, let’s be real—we’ve all been delayed in foreign countries. Why should my readers care if I’d been delayed in India? But if you read through this piece, you’ll see that what was going through my mind wasn’t thoughts of delay… but rather thoughts of death.
That is a what I call a “so what” moment. Not only did I get the attention of my readers through the storyline, but I ended this piece with two intriguing questions. Questions so pointed and direct that readers can’t help but to take time from their busy lives and seek answers within their own psyches and souls.
Lately, I have been rereading On Writing Well by William Zinsser. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend that you do. He gives a few suggestions on powerful ways to end creative non-fiction:
- When you are ready to stop, stop. In other words, don’t write too much.
- The positive reason for ending well is that a good last sentence, or last paragraph, is a joy in itself. It gives the reader a lift, and it lingers when the article is over.
- The perfect ending should take the reader slightly by surprise.
- What usually works best is a quotation.
Zinsser also teaches us not to end by summarizing. You don’t ever want to say, “In summary…” or “To conclude…” A summary is repeating yourself by compressing details that were already shared. Your readers don’t have time for that. The most powerful approach is to make one final point that connects and resonates with your reader.
The next time you sit down to write, draw your readers into your piece like a magnet by crafting a compelling lede. Then, make them feel signifiant and important at the end—like they’ve stumbled upon a treasure chest filled with insightful ideas they can now carry on their own journeys.