Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hard To Say Goodbye

At a recent writing workshop, I was asked to identify my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. One of the weaknesses that immediately came to my mind was my struggle with putting an end to a story or an article. I do well at the start of my piece with the right punch. I am able to provide the meat of the story in the body of my article. But somehow my conclusions always appear abrupt and open-ended.

Roy Peter Clark seems to complement my thoughts. In this article, he wrote:

It's not easy to write about endings. To appreciate a great ending, you need to experience the whole work. Disembodied endings can seem like uprooted trees, ripped from their life source.

According to Clark, writers can choose two techniques in closing a story: the "reflective ending" (one that 'tells') and the "narrative ending" (one that 'shows'). Perhaps a good way to study these tools is to read over and over the good endings that we remember in literature and see how a particular writer wrapped up a story. So, for this week, I shall check out my shelf and get to the last page. I just might be able to learn from my favorite works and authors.

How about you? How do you end a story/piece of work?

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