Writing a strong closing paragraph is important not just because that is the last paragraph a reader sees. It must mainly act as a summing up as to what has been written about earlier.
Tie the Threads Together
In an article, a closing paragraph should act as a tying together of the threads of the article, culminating with a conclusion. In a story, a closing paragraph should reflect on what has previously happened and on what will or may happen.
Along with the opening paragraph, a closing paragraph needs to leave a strong impression on the reader. It shouldn’t be lazily written in a quick attempt to finish the piece of writing when inspiration is lacking. It would also be disappointing for the reader, if the last paragraph they see tarnishes the excellent earlier writing.
Obviously what has already been written should be good, because, if it isn’t, then a strong closing paragraph will appear in sharp relief and make the writing overall seem patchy in quality. Working much harder on a closing paragraph will not improve the quality of what has been written before, but it should enhance the writing as a whole.
Focus on Key Points and Major Characters
For the last paragraph of an article focus on the most important points in the article before ending the piece. There will be aspects of the article that are more important than others. In a biography, for instance, the final paragraph can be flexible. It can list what the person will best be remembered for, or it can include a poignant comment about their death.
When writing the last paragraph for a story, focus on the major themes of the story and the major characters. Give the reader a clue as to how the futures of the characters will unravel. If intending to follow on from the story, then don’t reveal too much, but just enough to keep the reader fascinated about what is to follow.
Brevity Is Best
Most paragraphs in any writing shouldn’t be too long. If they consist of several short sentences, then that is ideal. No writing should be condensed just to fit into a paragraph however. The quality of the writing remains the most important thing.
A closing paragraph should, ideally, consist of no more than three or four sentences. It shouldn’t need to be more, because it is, effectively, summing up and underlining key points in an article or story.