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Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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RachelM
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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby RachelM » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:48 am

I think that it's a great idea to revise some of your older lessons! I would love to go through them all, but I really do love the interaction with everyone.

I find endings are the hardest part of writing my challenge entries!

Here is the ending to a super dark piece that I wrote recently. Selling My Soul

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I am forgiving the debt that you owed my husband, and I will make sure that you have work.”

“But why?” I sat up and squeezed her hand between both of my own. “Why are you doing all of this?”

“Through these painful years, God has carried me. God is love, Elinor.”

I was stunned that there could be such love in a world ruled by hate. Maybe there is a God who loves me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A couple of people commented on this ending. I was really tempted to tie everything up neatly and have my MC become a Christian, but it was just too messy, so I left her contemplating the possibility that she was loved by God.

This entry didn't do very well, but I think it was too complex for the word limit.

I like the ending for the story I am writing for this week's challenge. JoAnn wrote that she loves an ending that comes full circle in a surprising way. My story doesn't have a "twist" but I hope that it accomplishes that full circle in a satisfying way.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby Toni Hammer » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:52 am

Poor Joey's being put through the ringer tonight. :wink: I love all this feedback and conversation.
Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.

--Psalm 144:1

http://www.tonihammer.com

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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby RachelM » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:10 am

Toni is my challenge buddy and when I first read this story I really did laugh out loud at that last line.

I just reread it and read through the comments too. The "conversation" on that story had me throwing back my head and guffawing! I had to read it to my husband too. :lol:
Last edited by RachelM on Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby glorybee » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:08 am

Shann wrote:This is what I wrote originally :
My red ink is for the ending. I think you went a couple of lines too long. I'd have had the penultimate line be: He took another long drink from his soda, and they all sat quietly contemplating their view of Jesus.

And now I'm going to disagree with Jan and myself a little. :mrgreen:
By giving the boys thoughts, you're creating a POV shift. Since the story is told from the POV of Joey, we can't know what others are thinking without shifting, which I now realize I did as well with the contemplating line that I took from the original story. I agree it needed that part, but perhaps it could be done with: A sudden silence fell over the group. Joey scratched his head as he thought about Jesus flipping over tables in the temple.
Then he farted.


I'm not sure that I entirely agree with this--but now Toni has several options, and if she re-works this piece, she'll be able to make the ending one that she really loves.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby Shann » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:56 am

Toni Hammer wrote:Poor Joey's being put through the ringer tonight. :wink: I love all this feedback and conversation.

I'm sorry I shouldn't have said anymore. I also should have caught the POV shift the first time around. Just know, no matter what you have a great story.

If you would like to learn more about POV shifts, Check out this Writer's Digest article: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blo ... th-caution
Again, I'm sorry to both you and Jan. :sorry
Shann

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Sometimes God calms the storm; Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child

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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby glorybee » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:01 am

No need to apologize for a legitimate and valid difference of opinion! It's all good.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby JayDavidKing » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:32 am

I had a challenge entry (The Problem with Englishmen... http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=27512) that went no place favorable with the judges and had very few comments from readers but it was fun to write. It was about a hillbilly from America meeting a relative from England for the first time. The entire piece was based on misunderstandings that arise from the differences in local dialects. What few comments this story got centered on how they loved the ending. That is why I offered it here. I think the problem with this story was that its only purpose was to lead up to the surprise ending. Maybe that was the mistake I made. The story should have given the reader MORE than just the ending. The last few lines were:

“Percy,” I says, still keepin’ it slow fer his poor brain. “We be kin. If’n you don’t mind, I’m a gonna jist learn ta like ya jist the way ya are.”

I couldn’ hep swellin’ with pride at how Christian I was a bein’ but Percy jist looked at Ma with a ‘Huh?’ kinda look an’ Ma looked at me with a ‘Let it be’ look. It didn’ make no sense to me atall. Then Percy pulls a stunt that just knocks me over the alligator pit. He pulls his self up nice an’ tall, looks me eyeball ta eyeball, an’ rips muh coat right offin’ muh back.

“Now see here, Percy,” I holler, rippin’ the coat right back tuh muyself. “Kin or no, leave yer English hands off muh cougar skin!”

I musta raised muh voice a tad, cuz anuther fancy English guy come boundin’ out of a big, swanky room to hep out.

“Is there a problem here, Percy?” the fancy guy asks.

“No Master Charles, Sir. Your cousin from the Colonies has arrived…” Percy shrugged his shoulders. “… but he doesn’t seem to understand that I am just your butler.”

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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby Toni Hammer » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:42 am

glorybee wrote:No need to apologize for a legitimate and valid difference of opinion! It's all good.


What she said. :D No problem at all, Shann!
Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.

--Psalm 144:1

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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby glorybee » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:34 am

JayDavidKing wrote: I think the problem with this story was that its only purpose was to lead up to the surprise ending. Maybe that was the mistake I made. The story should have given the reader MORE than just the ending.


Gerald, I don't think you made a mistake at all, nor does this story have a problem. It's delightful in every way, and the ending is perfect.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby swfdoc1 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:23 am

itsjoanne wrote:I love when an ending comes full circle in a surprising way - bringing us back to the beginning


I love this, too. Garrison Keillor does this in the stories he tells on his show (which I have listened to a lot) and I presume in his books (which I have not read). Or at least he takes one back to somewhere WAY earlier in the story, which always serves as a zinger because you think he's just fallen into an almost stream-of-consciousness mode, just to find out the whole think was carefully crafted. He doesn't always do it--he does so many different things with his stories. So when he does, he always catches me off guard.

And certain stand-up comedians, mutatis mutandis, do the same thing with a long story, a story-joke, or even a series of stories or story-jokes.

[By the way, "mutatis mutandis" is just for you, Jan. I saw elsewhere that you learned a new word today ,and I thought you might like to learn a new (Latin) phrase today, too. OK, it was "today" 19 mins. ago. The Merriam-Webster entry is accurate & an easy place to find the definition. Of course, just my luck, you might already know this phrase.]
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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby buckspub » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:34 am

Post content deleted by user.
Last edited by buckspub on Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby Cinnamon Bear » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:10 pm

One of my entries with a surprise ending was "Teen Town". I don't know exactly what rating the ending received but the entry itself was 1st in Advanced and 7th in Editor's Choice. Therefore I am assuming that the judges rating the ending fairly high, even though it breaks Rule #1 listed by Jan:

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level3-previous.php?id=16638


"Eloísa's Mission" did not rate that well overall--only 16th in Advanced. (16th place is not quite as bad as it sounds. There were more entries back then. :oops: ) But the ending was rated high---about 4.4/5. And it was certainly a surprise ending:

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level3-previous.php?id=27727


Cinnamon Bear
Last edited by Cinnamon Bear on Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby glorybee » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:18 pm

swfdoc1 wrote:
itsjoanne wrote:I love when an ending comes full circle in a surprising way - bringing us back to the beginning


I love this, too. Garrison Keillor does this in the stories he tells on his show (which I have listened to a lot) and I presume in his books (which I have not read). Or at least he takes one back to somewhere WAY earlier in the story, which always serves as a zinger because you think he's just fallen into an almost stream-of-consciousness mode, just to find out the whole think was carefully crafted. He doesn't always do it--he does so many different things with his stories. So when he does, he always catches me off guard.



I LOVE Garrison Keillor's storytelling! Another thing we have in common, Steve!
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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby glorybee » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:19 pm

buckspub wrote:
I feel that a story that has elements of its beginning in its ending helps to create a better sense of a complete story. Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the earliest European authors I am aware of to use this concept (not sure if someone else did it before him). Hawthorne opens Young Goodman Brown with a pleasant and uplifting scene with his wife, and ends the story in a very tragic scene with his wife.

Buck


It's been years since I read this, Buck. I'll have to revisit it some time soon. Thanks for chiming in!
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Re: Be a Better Writer--GREAT ENDINGS

Postby glorybee » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:22 pm

Cinnamon Bear wrote:One of my entries with a surprise ending was "Teen Town". I don't know exactly what rating the ending received but the entry itself was 1st in Advanced and 7th in Editor's Choice. Therefore I am assuming that the judges rating the ending fairly high, even though it breaks Rule #1 listed by Jan:

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level3-previous.php?id=16638


"Eloísa's Mission" did not rate that well overall--only 16th in Advanced. (16th place is not quite as bad as it sounds. There were more entries back then. :oops: ) But the ending was rated high---about 4.4/5. And it was certainly a surprise ending:

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level3-previous.php?id=27727

I remembered both of these pieces as I re-read them. Still don't love the "dream" ending, but the stories are delightfully written, and I really love the idea of an Amazon Avon lady!

Cinnamon Bear
Jan Ackerson

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