Education

Beefing Up Your Closing Paragraphs Some Tips For Authors

Whether you’re writing an essay, article, book proposal, fiction book, non-fiction book, or business letter, you need to know how to write a closing paragraph. Short as they may be, closing paragraphs are often tricky to write. You have to strike a balance between saying too little and saying too much. Finding the right tone is also a challenge.
In my recent books I’ve tried to do a better job of writing closing paragraphs. These paragraphs have similarities, yet they differ according to the topic of the book. I want the closing paragraph of each chapter to amplify the topic, touch the reader, and generate interest in the next chapter.
A concluding paragraph or summary isn’t the place to bring up new ideas, that’s for sure. Even for long-term writers like me, closing paragraphs can be a challenge. “Wrestling with Closing Paragraphs,” an article on the English for Students website, offers suggestions for closing essay paragraphs. “Experienced writers occasionally have trouble tying up the threads of arguments and bringing their ideas to conclusion without lapsing into cliches and obvious comments,” the article notes.
One problem is that you have too many options. According to the article, “Writing a Good Conclusion Paragraph,” posted on the Time 4 Writing website, your options include stating what you want the reader to remember, “wrapping up,” showing you accomplished what you set out to do, proving your thesis, and providing closure. You may also “propose a course of action, a solution to an issue, or questions for further study,” the article explains.
The Write Place at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota has posted a Leo (Literacy Education Online) article, “Strategies for Writing a Conclusion.” According to the article, your paragraph should answer the question, So what?” Avoid repeating information, the article advises. The tip that grabbed me: “Create new meaning.” This is a great tip, but how do you do it?
From my perspective as a health and wellness writer, creating new meaning requires hours of thought. Recently I finished a book about finding happiness after loss and grief. It’s a concise resource, a quick read for those who are mourning. While I was writing the book I was never at a loss for words. In fact, I could barely keep up with the ideas that flowed from my mind. Then I reached the end of the book and got stuck on the last paragraph.
I revised the paragraph several times. I wrote a new version of it. I meditated about the paragraph and dreamed about it one night. My goal was to leave the reader with a sense of hope and the last sentence had to be just right. Finally, the words came to me:
“Happiness is a personal choice, a gift we give to ourselves. Each morning we have a chance to give ourselves this gift again. I hope you choose happiness for yourself, your family, your friends, and generations to come. Life is a miracle. Today is a new day — your day — and you can make it what you want. Your miracle is waiting.”
This paragraph meets my writing goals. First, it matches the tone of the book. Second, it repeats the point that happiness is a choice. Third, it uses simple words. Fourth, it includes a call to action. The words “make it what you want” are that call. Have you been struggling with endings? Paying special attention to closing paragraphs can improve your writing. You’ll find a bevy of helpful articles on the Internet. Like me, you may find that time and meditation lead to the words you are seeking.

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