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How to write the Denouement?


Hello everyone! 👋
I am currently writing the last chapter of the first draft (of my first book!) and I am completely stuck!
The climax took place in the previous chapter, and now I sort of need to give a denouement, and I have absolutely no idea how to do so...

There are quite a few things that I could give an answer to (most importantly about the protagonists' lives' future course), but I don't know how to make this without it being utterly boring, or even worse to keep creating new smaller conflicts because I have no idea how to take the boredom away!

I would appreciate any advice. 🙏🙏
Thank you!


Myth Weaver
Well...I would hope that if the reader is at the end, they like your characters, and have no small interest to follow them a little further.

I dont know what to tell you to write, but I think it possibly should include something showing them appreciating what they struggled for, or coming to terms with how they have changed because of it.


toujours gai, archie
The first thing I would ask is, what actually happens to the characters after the climax? Do you know?

Related, what happens to the world afterward? This is mainly relevant to epic fantasy but can apply most anywhere if you wish.

Finally, what happens in the climax? That is, does the climactic chapter end when the Big Bad falls to the ground and dies, end of chapter? Or is the end of the chapter the heroes going back to the tavern and getting drunk? Depending on what you've written, the denouement might be hiding in there somewhere.

And finally finally, take a look at some books you like and know well. Look at their ending chapters. What happens? How is it handled? Some stay close to the main character, while others zoom out and give a more general summary.

As with other writing challenges, there are a thousand paths and your story gets to walk only one of them


That's a very long word to write, but I have faith that you can write it. Spelling it is a whole other issue.

Seriously though isn't that like when Samewise asks that girl out and then has little hobbit cubs? Frodo and Bilbo the white go off for a sail, and that elf chick who's not even in the book ends up living forever and has to mourn her dead king for all eternity and probably turns evil then destroys everything (logically it follows). Then the ring wraiths build a new inn and bar, "the prancing black horses what bleeds rotten black tar."
It largely depends on whether the book will have a sequel.

The climax is over... danger is averted... everyone is basking in the afterglow...

If you're having a sequel, there is suddenly a new problem arising.

Ned Marcus

You've basically finished the book. The resolution can come later. I wouldn't waste too much time on this at the moment; it will come later. Don't let this delay you from editing/polishing the story.

Mad Swede

Well, the denouement is supposed to be where the final plot strands are drawn together and resolved, the place where the last few loose ends are tied together. So my question to you would be if there are any unresolved plot strands? If you don't have any then perhaps you need to think about that previous chapter and how that ends. Failing that I'd go back through the whole story and see if there is anything you've missed which needs wrapping up. If that doesn't work then maybe there is something which needs to be developed in the story and/or about the characters to allow you to give that sense of conclusion which the denouement is supposed to bring.


Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Skip the denouement and end the last chapter with a three short lines of dialogue as the characters watch a sunset. I mean, that's only half a joke. It depends on what's going on with your book of course. But it doesn't always have to be all that much.

Personally, I think it's good to save "one last happy surprise" for the denouement. A loose end somewhere, one of the characters asks, "But what about...?" and another answers, "Oh, that's easy to fix now...." That sort of thing.

A. E. Lowan

Forum Mom
We tend to deal with loose ends by tagging four or five epilogues on the end of each book. :D Falling action can come in many styles. The important thing is that you don't leave the reader hanging.

Unless you meant to. Then carry on.