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How to Write Narrative Conclusions

by Kori Morgan, studioD

Narrative essay assignments are a fun way to showcase your personality and past experiences to readers, but when the time comes to write the conclusion, your creativity can come to a grinding halt. Without a good ending, readers will be left confused about your story's significance and be frustrated with its lack of completion. Brainstorming, creativity and reflection can all help you write a conclusion that conveys a powerful message.

Reread your essay draft to get an overview of your narrative's plot. Pay special attention to the way the story begins, noting key images, phrases or ideas that you might be able to incorporate into your conclusion.

Choose a creative approach for your ending. Review the observations you made on your opening and look for a way to echo its elements in the ending. For example, if your essay begins with a memory of spending time with your grandmother in the kitchen, it might end with your preparing a favorite dish she taught you to make. You can also end with an important image from the story, or by reflecting on what your experience taught you.

Write a draft of your conclusion. Don't be too critical of the initial product; just like a complete essay, your ending will need to be revised and reworked. Read the paragraph that comes before the conclusion to come up with a natural transition into your ending.

Read your essay a second time to see how the new conclusion enhances it. The ending is where you show readers why what they've just read matters, writes the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center. Therefore, think about how effectively your ending brings the narrative's events to an end and makes a lasting impression on readers. Show your conclusion to a classmate or teacher to get another opinion on its effectiveness.

Items you will need
  •  Draft of your essay
  •  Pen


  • Your conclusion may actually be buried somewhere in your essay's final pages. Read through the last few paragraphs to see if one of them naturally brings your story to a close.


  • Avoid beginning with the phrase "In conclusion." It's redundant because readers can see from the final paragraph that the essay is drawing to a close. Rather than rely on trite phrases, be creative as you wind your narrative down.

About the Author

Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She taught creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.

Photo Credits

  • Leonard Mc Lane/Digital Vision/Getty Images