Monday, February 23, 2009

Let's start at the...ENDING

Since many of you talked about having trouble with beginnings and endings of stories, I want to share something that I do from time to time. It sort of unlocks the gates to let in the flood.

Writers, you have an idea forming in your mind but don't know how to begin. You've started once or twice, but are getting nowhere. Try writing the ending of your story first. That's what I do. I'm not sure if that's an original idea or not, but it works nonetheless.

So, just for the heck of it, write a quick paragraph about where you'll be ten years from now or (any other fantasy that comes to mind). Write your ending first. Don't take more than ten minutes to go back and complete...yes complete... the rest of your paragraph. You should have a much easier time getting started now.

Does my ending always stay the same? No. In fact, frequently it changes as my story evolves, but for whatever reason, it gets the ball rolling.

Teachers, do this same exercise with your students. It's a great exercise for the beginning of the week. All of the writing exercises that I share should be quick enough to finish while you're taking attendance, even if you're sounding out ideas as you call each child's name.

Teachers and parents, once again, with younger kids, you can do this exercise orally. In fact, you can turn it into a game. For example, your ending might be: And the squirrel ran up the tree and into his nest as the stars twinkled in the sky. Then ask, "What happened before that?"

Fooling around with words is what it's all about. Writing isn't scary when we pull out whatever gadgets we need to make writing fun. We're only just beginning to gather our supplies. I have to keep remembering which toolboxes I've used over the years!


Suzanne said...

This is a great idea - if you have the ending written down then you know what you're aiming for.

Anonymous said...

Hi thanks for contacting me. I am trying to write a children's book but have been rejected so far. I will read your blog.

Elliemae said...

Jan, thanks for stopping by my blog! I always have an idea for a book but haven't taken any of the next steps. Maybe your blog will inspire!
By the way, What kind of horse do you have? I have an Appaloosa mare that I used to show but now we just trail ride.

KAREN said...

That's a good idea. I can't embark on a story unless I know the ending. Even if it changes I like to have something to work towards initially!

Sandy said...

Interesting, never thought of that; must give it a try.

Sandy said...

More cool updates over on the bridge, be sure and swing over and see what these wonderful people continue to do! I love people!

Though you might not think so with my travel blog rant. lol


Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Jan and inviting me here! I love your ideas!

With my poems, I try to always end with a twist. And I like the endings to be a short, quick that stops you, gets you thinking that the poem's meaning isn't what you thought it was at first.
I don't know if it always works, but I try.

Again, thanks Jan! It looks like fun in here!

Sandy said... all the blogs sorta updated today, hop over. Anxious to see what you've done with the place, colors and all.

Hum..........I'm feeling a writing exercise related to your painting.


Chris.P said...

Interesting Blog Jan. As a published illustrator I am keen to engage with as many creative people, like you, as possible. I have written only one of the books in which my illustrations appear, but I have considered putting more energy into the writing side.

My illustration Blog is:

But thanks for stopping by my Sculpture Blog:¬)

Annie Wicking said...

Thank you for your idea about beginning and finishing. I have a short Shory sitting on my computer. I'm a bit stuck on how to finish it so I shall be taking a new look at it this weekend.