A truly memorable final moment, image, or line is the cherry on top of your story. It acts like a handle with which to pick up the tale and helps the reader or audience recall the story through the sheer brilliance of its visual or descriptive presence.
The Final Image or Moment
What makes for a great final image? The simple answer is: one that captures the essence of what your story is really about. It is the exclamation mark that occurs at the end of all great narratives.
In constructing this last image ask yourself the following questions:
1. Does it solve, or support the previous solving of the main story puzzle?
In The Planet of the Apes, the chief story puzzle is to find out which planet astronaut Leo Davidson’s (Mark Wahlberg) space capsule has landed on if he is ever to try and return home. The last image of the sunken Statue of Liberty, however, strikingly reveals that he’s been on earth all along.
2. Does it answer, or support a previous answer to the central dramatic question of the story?
In the same movie, this image also answers the chief dramatic question:
What allowed apes to gain evolutionary ascendency over man?
3. Does it reveal the protagonist’s hidden hope, ambition, or fear?
Davidson’s hopes of ever returning home come to naught. He is already home—in earth’s bleak future.
The power of the film’s final image is truly memorable—it causes a major change in the protagonist’s and the audiences’ understanding of the story.
The final moment, line, or image of your story ought to act as the final exclamation point of your tale, revealing or encapsulating the essence of your story. In doing so, it will assist in making your story more memorable.
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