From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How Would You Finish This Piece? (A Writing Exercise)

The last thing she did was give me money for pizza. "Be nice on the tip, John," she said. Then she walked out the door in that red dress she used to wear with the thick black belt. She left, and it was 37 minutes between the ambulance noise I heard but didn't think much about and the knock on my door. They said drunk driver. I don't really remember too much about what happened after that.
I jotted that in my notebook the other day. Sometimes I'll think about something or overhear something and it will spark an idea and I'll have to jot the first paragraph down in my notebook, but then the electric spark stops. I'm realizing lately that endings take a lot of thought and deliberation for me.

So I'm bringing it to you to see how you guys do it. How do you decide how to end a piece?

And how would you end this one?

It can be flash fiction, novel, short story, whatever. Write the next and last paragraph if you want, or tell me what you'd do. I'm really interested to know.

And go!


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  1. I wrote a beautiful response to this. It was practically poetic. But the internet ate it when I clicked Publish. I'll repost later, when I'm not so angry at the webs.

    1. Aw, dang! I'd love to have read it :) Hope you get it back up soon!

  2. Hi Sarah: I would write something but I am done in after a day of writing! This posed a lot of questions that would allow you to riff on the lead in: Is John her son, her husband, her lover, her John? Where was she going, dressed like that? Oh, the possibilities!

    1. Great questions!! And that is a great strategy for going about crafting endings.

  3. To be honest, I've never figured out how to end stories that take longer than one sitting to sit down and write. If I CAN do it in one sitting? It can be more fun than the beginning. You start by getting inklings of an impression you want to leave your readers with... not a straight out message, but certainly a feeling that you want to share quite badly with others. That keeps me going. I wrote a quick paragraph to what I imagined happening next.

    ....Or the next few weeks. Those are hardly in my memory either. To be honest, I don't want to remember them. Ruby was the kind of person you can't replace or live without. And, well, I guess everyone is irreplaceable. But some people see their loved ones in other people, in old places, in the tint of a sky or swimming in on a breeze... I was supposed to somehow feel her again that way. But I didn't. I didn't feel anything at all, just a numbness.
    Nobody, nothing, anywhere, is or ever will be like Ruby Heffin.

    It should have been me that went out that day, not Ruby. John. That just sounds like the name of someone who would die in a car crash. Yuuup. Boring common name, to a boring common person. We could end this story right here with that; its been all I've ever known. And I never had to try and cope with it either. No sir, I was fine being a nobody along with all the other nobodies.

    But Ruby... she saw something in me I guess. I doubt there was anything really there; Ruby was known to see things that aren't there. That makes her sound crazy. Well, she kind of was. Crazy to think there was anything special about me at least.
    But she gave me hope. A hope I grew to love and hate. A hope that started my first day of highschool... Me, the nobody, clinging to my books, trying to cover my face with my hoodie and with my hair that- goodness, reeeeally needed a haircut....

    And I'll never end it x) but if I WERE to end it, I would keep in mind the challenge of facing our true potential, how to do that, how to overcome challenges that get in the way of reaching that potential. Hopefully leaving my audience, in the end, with a soul expanding experience about what it means to be an individual with countless possibilities and amazing agency.

    That was fun :) I really like your blog Sarah, I think you're really cool.


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