Yesterday, one of my friends posted about how she felt after writing for several weeks, and now having to put in that last bit of work to write the ending chapter.
Anyone who has ever been writing more than just an article knows exactly how this feels. While writing is probably one of the most rewarding activities you can do (you are the creator), it's also excruciatingly hard.
But then one her followers, a CEO, wrote this:
Wrap it up and then polish it later. You can spend forever waiting for the perfect ending...
This the typical extrovert business thinking that we see almost everywhere in the business world. Don't fuss about the end, just put something out there. Fail fast and all that nonsense.
You see, the ending is the most important part of all, especially as a writer and as a storyteller.
The 'Beginning' is what sets the mood. That's where you put people into the right frame of mind. The 'Middle' of the story is when you build up tension. This is where things get complicated. Where the perfect world starts to fall apart, and where a crisis emerge and people fight.
And you use the middle to slowly make things even more desperate. It's where you get people to sit on the edge of their chairs almost at that point where they can't take it any longer.
And then... we come to the 'End'. The 'End' is where you release all this tension. With one scene, you remove all the stress, all the anxiety, and all the discomfort. And your show your readers/viewers what truly matters.
The end is the most important part of all. It's what makes people cry. It's the part that burns the story into people's brains, causing them to want even more.
For instance, in the movie 'The Hobbit', after a long and dangerous journey filled with drama and conflicts, the end goes like this:
Thorin: "You! What were you doing? You nearly got yourself killed! Did I not say that you would be a burden? That you would not survive in the wild and that you had no place amongst us?"
[Thorin advances until he is face to face with Bilbo, who looks worried and frightened.]
Thorin: "I've never been so wrong in all my life!"
[Thorin grabs Bilbo and embraces him deeply. The other dwarves cheer loudly and slap each other on the back. Gandalf smiles. Bilbo, looking quite surprised, hugs Thorin back. ]
Thorin: "I am sorry I doubted you."
Or what about the ending scene of Batman - The Dark Knight Rises? Batman has just been killed saving the city, and millions of fans don't know what they should do about themselves ... and then comes this:
We see not only the potential for another Batman, but we also see that the original Batman who, after so many struggles, have finally found peace ... true peace.
Oh... and BTW, the last scene where both the butler and Batman look directly at you is an old a proven technique to connect with the audience. It makes you as a viewer feel important. They are not just greeting each other. They are saying thanks to you.
Eric Kandel, the Nobel Prize-winning Neuropsychiatrist, explained this well in this video:
You don't just 'wrap-up' the ending. The ending is what makes the thing worthwhile.
Wait-a-minute, you say. That's for movies and books. We can't do that as a brand. We don't have a story, at least not one that is 'ending'. But you are wrong. Because you do!
Let's say you want to present something at a meeting. You start by setting the mood, then you build up tension by highlighting the challenges, the obstacles, and the dangers ahead ... and then, you end it by illustrating how you intend to solve it.
The 'Start' sets the stage. The 'Middle' makes it impossible. And the 'End' gives people hope. It's what makes them believe.
Same with writing articles. You start by quickly explaining the problem. You dive in deeper to get people to understand the complexity. And you end by showing people that if they just realign their thinking there is a remarkable simple way to solve it.
And every single form of advertising is based the same concept. Start: Here is the situation. Middle: Here is the problem. End: Buy this to solve it.
The 'End' is what makes the sale!
Even with apps we can use the same pattern. The difference with apps is that they are not linear So instead of having one story, you have hundreds of tiny stories happening every day.
Take Instagram, as an example. When you open the app, the other photos set the mood for what this is all about. You then decide to post your own picture, which builds up tension. You are unsure about what your friends are going to think about it. If they are going to like it. If this is really what you wanted to do. But then, as people start to 'hearth' and 'like' it, you reach the end of that photo's story as you see people's reactions.
It's the same thing as in the Hobbit movie. You are thinking: "Maybe I will be a burden? Maybe I have no place on Instagram?"
But when your friends then see your picture, many of them say: "You are so wrong to doubt yourself. We love this photo. Please show us more!"
It's the end, in this case facilitated by the social connection, that makes every single social app work.
Don't skip out on the end. It's the hardest part to make, and you are often worn out from doing all the other things that came before it. But it is also the most important part of all.
It's the end that allows you to have a new beginning...
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