By Kirsti Call
Have you ever read a book where the ending didn’t satisfy you? I think we all have! Endings determine what we think of a book. If we like the way a book ends, we'll recommend it to others or even re-read it. Jane Yolen says the best endings surprise us with something that seems inevitable. Many of my favorite picture books follow that formula.
Here’s the April Mentor Text Challenge: Read at least 3 of your favorite picture books, notice the endings, and ask yourself these 3 questions:
1. Why are they satisfying?
2. Is the end predictable or surprising?
3. What about the ending makes you want to read the story again?
Now look at your manuscripts and ask yourself these questions:
1. Is the end satisfying?
2. Is it surprising, yet inevitable?
3. Is it as well written as the beginning?
There are so many stellar books with endings that make you want to read the book again. Let's use them to help us write stories with powerful endings that resonate with people!
Fabulous post, Kirsti! And timely...I have an ending to work on! :0ReplyDelete
Thanks Carrie :) Endings are the hardest for me always.Delete
I recently read Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan for the first time. It may be my favorite PB ending ever!ReplyDelete
Ohhh! I can't wait to read it!Delete
I love "The Dot" - also "Sky Color" by Reynolds, and then add to that "Art & Max" (by Wiesner).ReplyDelete
I love sky color too! I can't wait to read Art and Max. I just reserved it :)Delete
The endings are hardest part for me. Now I need to go check all my MS:)ReplyDelete
I know. They are the toughest for me too. That's why I've been thinking about them lately.Delete
One of the endings that really stayed with me was the one in SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE. It was such a unique (and subtle) twist that brought everything back full circle but everything had changed. THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA is also great b/c it is so unpredictable. As for endings, something that makes them really enjoyable is when an ending ties back to the first line somehow, creating a sort of book end with the story in between.ReplyDelete
Thanks for this great post Kristi!
I meant to put THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA on my list for great endings and somehow neglected to. Great suggestions!Delete
Yes! THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA has a fantastic ending! I also love the ending in I WANT MY HAT BACK. My daughter's face was priceless. I thought she'd be a shocked at the realization of what happens but instead she read it over and over, with special voices for each animal. It was great. Made me want to write something that generates that reaction.Delete
I adore the ending of CHICKEN BIG :) It delights me with the chatter of the chickens expressing their opinions about what to do at the end. I've continued to study mentor texts. Thank you Kirsti and Carrie for inspiring me!ReplyDelete
I can't wait to read this! So glad you're still studying mentor texts! It's so helpful with writing, isn't it?Delete
I love the endings of Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova, Rabbityness and Max the Brave. The first two are very moving, the last, hysterically funnyReplyDelete
I love the endings of all 3 of those books, Judy! Thanks for reminding me of them :)Delete
Love it! I have been missing all of our concentrated efforts at researching picture books. Though last month really got me in the habit of reading PB's. Yay! Thanks!ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you're reading PB's more often! I feel like it really makes a difference for me.Delete
Mentor texts are so helpful in writing manuscripts. Good tips for us, Kristi. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Your welcome, Jarm!Delete
Super questions - definitely need them (endings are HARD - but so are beginnings and middles LOL). One of my favorite endings is Chicks Run Wild by Sudipta Barnham-Quallan. Guess Who? by Mac Barnett is up there too! Thanks, Kirsti!ReplyDelete
I love those 2 books, also Joanne. And endings are definitely hard :) I need to use these questions for all my WIP right now.Delete
So very true. I find endings to be quite tricky. It's something I've been focusing on for several stories. I think Debra Underwood's "Interstellar Cinderella" has a great twist ending, fracturing the fairy tale along with gender stereotypes and patriarchal expectations. Plus, it's written in rhyme! How awesome is that!?ReplyDelete
I adore Interstallar Cinderella! Thanks for reminding of that one. I actually have it checked out right now and it's waiting to be read :)Delete
Thanks, Kirsti. One of my WIPs is giving me some problems in this area, too. Need time to brainstorm and study.ReplyDelete
You're welcome, Tina. Doesn't feel great when an ending finally clicks? For me, really focusing on what I like about a book helps me get where I need to be with my stories :)Delete
Thanks, Kirsti. I'm excited to give the challenge a try. I'll be reading your suggestions and the ones from the comments. They all seem great.ReplyDelete
Yay! I'm going to give the challenge a try myself :)Delete