At last, we are finally on the final act of your story. This is where all the loose ends are tied, and the reader sees how your characters are handling the aftermath. This is the shortest of all the acts–I would argue that it should be about half of the size of Act 1, if that. This is basically the conclusion to everything that had happened so far. It should show how the character handles the aftermath of his climatic decision, how the character has changed since the beginning of the story, and should leave the reader satisfied.
Tying the Loose Ends
This is exceptionally important for such a little section of your story. This is where all the readers’ questions get answered. In Bobby’s story: What happened to the lawyer that left him? How did his dad react to his announcement? What was the fallout of such a large accusation? The reader will learn that Bobby moved out of the city and to the quiet county side where he could build a baseball diamond for the community’s boys. They will also learn that Bobby and his dad, after an awkward forgiveness speech on his father’s part, now own a sporting goods store. And that lawyer that left Bobby hanging? He was fired from the firm. Everything is all good in the end. Keep in mind, however, that you can also end your story with the main character being in dire straights, but the better good has been accomplished. This is more used for the self-sacrificial character, though.
The big question to be answered here is, How did the main character change since the first few pages of the story? For Bobby, did he realize that amends with his father was more important than his baseball career? Did he realize that the only way to beat those who had accused him was by removing himself from their game? Yes and yes. So, how has he changed? He’s still the same Bobby, but he’s also different, too. Now he’s much wiser of the ploys of greedy men. He stands tall and sure when everyone else is bent in shame. When at first he was a hot-head baseball player who would sacrifice himself for his team, he is now a level-headed man who doesn’t allow people to take advantage of him.
You want to be sure that when you end your story, you are positively sure that every single loose end has been tied. I’ve read many a book in which loose ends that don’t really seem important are left flying in the wind. It just screams of an author who didn’t take the time to re-read the piece and tie it up in the end–well, it may not scream it, but it definitely implies it. You want your readers feeling justified for having given hours and hours of their time to reading your work; it’s the least we can do to make sure they are satisfied. Be sure that you end your story on a note that you feel is reminiscent of the lessons your character–and readers–learned.
For example, I wouldn’t have Bobby run into his old lawyer one day and slam the door in his face. That would completely destroy the image of him that I wanted to make. Instead, I would have him calmly accept the man’s apology and move on. He doesn’t have to like the lawyer and his apology, but he will take it. He isn’t the same guy he was in the beginning, and this is how you show it. The reader will be satisfied as long as you stick with the theme you had intended it for–in this case, forgiveness.
I really hope this helps all of you guys. It was fun writing this three part series. I feel like I should give a disclaimer that Bobby is just a fictionalized character I made for the sake of these three posts.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
Thanks for reading!