Endings Keep Running Away From Me

Standard

I use Grammarly for english proofreading because if I didn’t you’d be reading this post in Martian.

I’ve been working on a story for nearly three weeks now and I’ve hit a wall.

It started with a character I created a few months ago for another project. Her name is One, which is short for Onesiphorus. She has a dilemma. She’s come into possession of a book and that book is forbidden. I followed her through her day to day life. I’ve gotten into her head and heard her thoughts. I understand her. I’ve given her something to sacrifice and fight for. I’ve challenged her current situation. I like her.

I had a vision when I started this short story (an off-shoot of my current novel length WIP) of where she would end up. In my vision, One is looking out over the walls of her city into the vast barren plains that constitute the hinterlands. She is contemplating self-exile.
The vision ends there. I’m not certain how she gets to this place or how things went so badly. I realized that the ending, in particular the journey my character travels to get to the end, eludes me.

Endings, no matter the story, elude me. I almost always know where I want my protagonists to be in the end, but the just before is this mysterious place I can’t seem to get to. It scares me too because this is part of my craft, a huge part of what I want to do and somehow I feel like I’ve run into a wall every single time

I had such difficulty when it came to the ending of An Unproductive Woman. AUW came to me in effortless linear waves. There was never a moment when I felt stuck, when I had to go back and fill in any gaps. And I did this all without an outline. But when it came to the ending, I choked. And this is evident in the reviews that AUW receives. Some of those reviews site an unsatisfactory ending.

How do you know when a story is finished? What constitutes a satisfactory ending to you?