Wednesday, March 29, 2017

ReFoReMo Day 27: Kirst Call and Carrie Charley Brown Explore Excellent Endings

     Your ReFoReMo Co-Coordinators

As the sun sets on ReFoReMo 2017, we’re not about to let the ending fall flat. The best endings roll around to the beginning and leave the reader with a craving for more. In 2016, we wrote a post on Bold Beginnings. Where there’s a beginning, there must be an ending, right? We’ll start you off with two examples, and let you explore the remaining mentor texts mentioned in our previous post.





Kirsti’s Pick: Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos (a ReFoReMo 2017 presenter) & Joy Ang  

Ending Style: The ending surprises and makes you wonder--a delightful ending that leaves you craving more.


Beginning: “When Baby Billy was born, his family noticed something odd.  He had a mustache.”
Ending: “‘There, there’  she said.  ‘Everybody has a bad mustache day now and then.’
‘Let’s dry your tears,’  his father said.  ‘The new neighbors have a baby who is your age.  He’s coming over to play.’ DING DONG.”  The last page is an illustration of a smiling Mustache Baby facing his new playmate, a baby with a beard!


When we compare the beginning with the ending, we see that it could be seen as a roll-around ending...starting and ending with facial hair. 

The ending is unexpected, yet perfect. The ending leaves me craving for more.  How will the playdate go? Will Mustache Baby like Beard Baby? When the second book (Mustache Baby Meets His Match) came out, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened with Mustache Baby and Beard Baby.  


Carrie’s Pick: The Monstore by Tara Lazar (a ReFoReMo 2015 presenter) & James Burks
Ending style: Ties the ending back to the beginning- A perfect roll around.
Beginning: “At the back of Frankensweet’s Candy Shoppe, under the last box of sour gumballs, there’s a trapdoor. Knock five times fast, hand over a bag of squirmy worms, and you can crawl inside… THE MONSTORE.”


Ending: “So now...at the back of their crooked old bike shed, under a box of rusty roller skates, there’s a trapdoor. Knock five times fast, hand over a bag of squirmy worms, and you can crawl inside… THE MONSTORE 2. Just remember: No returns. No exchanges.”


Comparing the beginning to the ending, it is easy to see how this ties together perfectly. It comes full circle! The contrast comes down to:
  • Frankensweet’s Candy Shoppe vs their crooked old bike shed
  • The last box of sour gumballs vs a box of rusty roller skates
The structure is familiar, yet fresh! And oh, so clever. Which creates immediate satisfaction. Then there’s the last line, “No returns. No exchanges.” which is used several times throughout the story. Knock out!


Take the time to compare and contrast beginnings and endings. Learn from those that satisfy. After reading and researching so much in just one month, we know you are exhausted. But we also hope you are craving more and ready to roll around to the beginning of a new, more informed chapter of your writing career. If you haven’t already, it’s time to turn your mentor text research to your work in progress.
  • Where does your story fall flat? 
  • What have you learned about writing from what you read this month? 
  • And of course, how can you improve your ending and make it a surprise, yet inevitable?

As you keep reading new picture book releases, ask yourself these questions:
  •  How do you see the market changing? 
  • What remains ever true and consistent? 
  • What trends are vanishing? 
  • How do the newest releases tap into original concepts? 

Although ReFoReMo 2017 is coming to a close, your reading and research should carry you to new, educated heights.
We’ve got two more days of celebration ahead of us. Don’t miss gratitude tomorrow and prize entries on Friday!

134 comments:

  1. Beginnings and endings is a great topic for a post and you've highlighted some great examples of doing it right. In examining my manuscripts, I find that I am good with beginnings and endings. My problem lies in the middle. Pacing, pacing, pacing. I'm still trying to master that.

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  2. Ending where you started, but with a twist - often the best fun surprise of the book.

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  3. So important to compare beginnings and endings to see how books have come around full circle. And sad that this is nearly the ending of ReFoReMo for this year. Thanks, ladies!

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  4. Beginnings and endings are key...thanks for keeping us focused, ladies! It's been an awesome challenge...just need to go back and make sure I didn't miss any posts. ;)

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  5. What a great month of researching and reading. Thank you both for a great post on endings. It make a me very sad to see ReFoReMo emding.

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    1. Only the daily posts will end, Maria. ReFoReMo will go on! :)

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  6. Beginnings and endings are such important parts of the PB sandwich! I love both of your picks, Kirsti and Carrie. Both are hilarious and both pulled me right in. I still need to read the sequel to Mustache Baby, though!

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  7. I can't believe it's ending already! Thanks for another great ReFoReMo.

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  8. So sad this is nearing the end! So much valuable information here... going to be reviewing it all over again to pick up things I missed the first time around. 😊 And thank you for this post on endings... just so happens that is where I need to revise today!

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  9. Aww, you have tied everything up nicely to create the perfect ending to ReFoReMo 2017. I've read, learned, been inspired, and now I move back into the writing world a better author because of both of you and all of the wonderful kidlit folks who gave so generously. Thanks, ladies!

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    1. You are welcome, Jodi! So happy to share it with you!

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  10. Love the ending to Mustache Baby!

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  11. Where did the month of March go? I don't know I had my nose in a picture book!

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  12. This was the perfect ending to a great reading research month, Thanks girls! - Alice Fulgione

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  13. Full circle endings are the best! I liked this post, but it makes me sad that the month is ending! 😭

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  14. Endings can be so tricky! Thanks for giving us some good examples.

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  15. Thank you, Kristi and Carrie, for today's inspirational tips. I am excited to start revising my manuscripts!

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  16. By the end of this challenge I notice that my book-lugging muscles have gotten much stronger! More on my improved book-studying mental muscles later...

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  17. ReFoReMo has opened my eyes to reading PBs in fresh ways. It's satisfying to read a story that loops back to the beginning, as do the mentor texts mentioned here. Thanks for a great month of inspirational posts, Kirsti and Carrie. I especially appreciate the thought-provoking questions!

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  18. Thank you! This has been a great PB reading month!

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  19. Whoa - I had been collecting "first lines" - now it will be fun to find perfect first line/last line combos. Big T Terrific month!

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  20. What a great post! I really hate to see ReFoReMo end! Can't we just go on another month or two or seven??? Thank you so much Kristi and Carrie for your excellent posts and for all of the inspiration.

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    1. We WILL go on... just on a weekly basis, rather than daily. Take this habit you've created for yourself and make it specific to your writing. :)

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  21. I love full circle endings. Thanks for a great month! I haven't participated in the FB group as much as I would have liked, but I've read every post plus all the books I could get my hands on--another year of learning!

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  22. I've read both of those books and now I must re-read them to study the beginnings and endings! I will definitely be doing the same with the rest of the ReFoRe books I've still got to read! Thanks!

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  23. Thank you for explaining full circle PB's so well. I am sad to see ReFoReMo come to an end or has it??

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    1. No, Sharon. Just the end of daily posts. Switching to weekly until ReFoReMo 2018. :)

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  24. Wow - we're already reaching the end. Thank you for a great beginning, middle, and end for ReFoReMo!

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  25. It's been awesome. Thank you for sharing these. I love both of those picks.

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  26. Great post, thank you! Beginnings, endings, and the synergy of the two is so important--and often such a challenge!

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  27. Thanks, Kirsti, for this reminder about beginnings and endings. I find beginnings the hardest to write. But when I start a ms draft, I always write the beginning and ending, to make sure they do their jobs! The 'once upon a time' must have a 'happily ever after'.

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    1. You are welcome, Ann! When a beginning or ending is stuck, we can rely on the stronger one to mentor the other. :)

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  28. Two fun picture books with beginnings and endings that satisfy! Thanks for the great post.

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  29. It has been an excellent month of enjoying the work of others, and learning things that will help my own. Thanks, Kirsti and Carrie!

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    1. You are welcome, Pat! Great to have you as part of the ReFoReMo family!

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  30. No ends, I love ReFo so much. I do always compare my beginning and ends, but sometimes they don't quite nail it as well as your examples, ladies. May I quote the Beatles and say to you both, "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." You spread lots of love and knowledge this month. TY and hugs, Kirsti & Carrie.

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  31. The beginning of ReFoReMo was exciting and the ending of ReFoReMo is rewarding -- thanks to all who posted and shared great PB recommendations and to Carrie and Kirsti for all the effort of making the month great!

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  32. Thanks for the great endings for our reforms end. It's been a great month!

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  33. Wow! Time flies! It's been a great month. Researching will go on, just yesterday I reserved a bunch of "How to" PBs. Carrie, you gave some great examples of how to tie an intriguing beginning to a satisfying ending. Thank you and Kirsti for all the work and heart you put into ReFoReMo!

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  34. The ending of ReFoReMo is certainly leaving me wanting more! I've enjoyed reading the posts and the highlighted books with new insight. Thank you, Kirsti and Carrie!

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  35. Kirsti and Carrie, thank you so much for making ReFoReMo a reality! I'm sure it's a lot of work! I'm so grateful for the time and energy you spend putting this together! I love this last post! I'll definitely look at my current manuscripts for how to bring them full circle! Thank you again!

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  36. These are great mentor texts! Both are such fun books! Getting picture books just right is harder than Goldilocks finding a comfy chair!

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  37. Great post for almost-the-ending! I know I'll now be taking closer looks at beginnings and endings.

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  38. Thanks Carrie and Kirsti for a great month of reading and learning. Also, your list of questions is very helpful as I read on!

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  39. March has been so much fun from beginning to (almost) ending because of your efforts and the wisdom of ReFoReMo 2017. This post ties the ending back to the beginning, making ReFoReMo 2017 a knockout!

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  40. Thank you Carrie & Kirsti for reminding us that even as the month of awesome mentor texts and super posts is ending, this really hearkens the beginning of newly heightened awareness as we continue to read for research all year long.

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  41. The beginning and ending are so important and often the hardest to get right. Thank you for the focus questions!

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  42. I'm struggling with an ending of my own right now. I enjoyed the variety of books this year. Thanks for putting on another great month of studying mentor texts.

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  43. This month has been wonderful. Thank you, Carrie and Kirsti!

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  44. Thank you for another great year, so much inspiration!

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  45. This month has been amazing Carrie and Kirsti! I have learned so much again this year to add to my writing style and knowledge of the industry.

    And this was the perfect post about great endings for stories. Well done!

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  46. I can't thank you enough for this wonderful month! Reading the mentor texts has been a joy. The posts have been such gifts. Today's advice is a challenge and a blessing.

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  47. Love it! Very clever to begin last year's ReFoReMo with BOLD BEGINNINGS and to end this year with EXCELLENT ENDINGS! Thank you both for all of the hard work you have put into this month. It is so very valuable! Thank you!

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  48. Thank you for this month of exploration, education and discovery.

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  49. This is the perfect post. Those beginnings and endings keep us challenged and I appreciate the examples. Thank you, Carrie and Kirsti, for this amazing ReFoReMo 2017! I'm looking forward to the remaining two days of celebrating mentor texts :)

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  50. Great post! The Monstore is a perfect mentor text for story structure. Thanks for sharing beginnings and endings.

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  51. Another great month of learning. Thanks for all your work.

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  52. This Excellent Ending leaves us wanting more! Thank you Carrie and Kirstie for ReFoReMo 2017!

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  53. Thanks for reminding me of Mustache Baby. I've been wanting to read that for awhile.

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  54. Thank you thank you. I've learned so much and intend to keep learning. I still have 35 books I couldn't get in Scottsdale that I'll ILL in WI. Your observations on endings are very helpful.

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  55. Great examples of beginnings and endings. This has been such a wonderful month filled with all kinds of great information and possibilities. Thank you, Kirsti and Carrie!

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  56. What a perfect way to end this chapter of ReFoReMo! I am struggling with an ending to a current WIP myself, so the timing is great. Thanks for another great year of reading for research!

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  57. Anything wanting to leave an impact must start with a bang and finish with a bang. Thanks for the bang-up job you've done in presenting ReFoREMo this year. The ripple effects of seeds planted will be seen and felt far into the future as writers take them and bloom into the writers they want to become.

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  58. A good ending is that elusive "pot of gold" we search for. Sometimes it's obvious, but we can't see it. Critique partners can really help! When you eventually discover just the right ending, it's magic. Thanks for the post, Kirsti & Carrie, and for a great month. I've learned a ton!

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  59. Beginning is so sweet, ending is so bittersweet--when it's the ending to a picture book perfect month, that is. I learned so much from ReFoReMo. I loved seeing the different perspectives everyone brought to their book choices and analysis. Thanks for ending the book study on a high note!

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  60. I agree wholeheartedly, that a solid beginning AND ending are vitally important to our stories. What I find myself challenged with sometimes is making the journey between the beginning and ending enjoyable enough that it will beg to be read AGAIN, even after you've experienced the surprise/twist at the end. Wonderful post - thank you so very much. I'm sad that it's almost over, but there's SO much to carry forward into future manuscripts.

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  61. It's been a great month and these are two great mentor texts - thanks.

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  62. Thanks for a great month of mentor text research and for this fabulous post that shows us how great PB endings circle back to the the beginning. I learned a lot this month. Thanks to you both!

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  63. What a great post bringing all of our hard work together. It's been a terrific month. I'm so glad I participated. I've loved all the mentor texts.

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  64. Osten times I have an idea for a story and I know just where I want it to begin...but where does it end? Similarly, there are times when I know how I want a story to play out- exactly what I envision my MC is doing on the last spread and what he/she/it is saying/thinking/feeling/looking like, and showing goal: achieved.
    But, how do they achieve it? How do we get here? How do we begin?? It's such a journey, right?!
    I also wanted to add how satisfying a good ending is. When you reach the end of a PB, and BAM- the ending knocks it out of the park! It's one of the most rewarding parts of reading. And sometimes, when that last page completely surprises you, well, that's the icing on the picture book cake!

    Thanks for sharing your favorites. I haven't read these yet and look forward to them. I mean, a baby with a beard?! Genius -and timely- since beards are fashion trending now :)

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  65. Terrific post! Thanks so much for this and the month as a whole. It has been enlightening and inspiring!

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  66. Wow...have we come to the end already?? The first time I did ReFoReMo I was so exhausted I couldn't fit another word into my brain. But this year everything seemed to fall into place. I couldn't always find a book at the library and sometimes lagged behind in my reading, but overall, I feel refreshed and ready to tackle my latest writing projects. Thanks SO much for ReFoReMo and all the great contributors you lined up for us. Your generosity is greatly appreciated. :)

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  67. Beginnings and endings. I'm learning how to tie them together. I've learned soooooo much this month. Thanks!

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  68. I am so glad I have been a part of this! I can't even tell you all that I have learned this month. A great investment in my time and I will be reading mentor texts for the next month, I am sure, just to complete the list. So worthwhile! Also, I now have found many comp titles to mention in my query letters, so that is just another real bonus to this ReFoReMo experience! Thank you, I so appreciate all you have done to this organized and running so smoothly.

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  69. Great post, Kirsti and Carrie! Where did the time go? I can’t believe that ReFoReMo is over... it feels as if we just began. Thank you for another fantastic March filled with mentor texts

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  70. What a great beginning and ending to the month. The sequel will be here sooner than we know. Looking forward to another year of ReFoReMo. Thank you Carrie and Kirsti.

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  71. Yes, I think endings are the trickiest part. And sometimes you don't know what beginning you need until you have the ending. Quite the conundrum!

    Thanks for a great month of learning! Sorry I haven't been able to read every post, but I have checked out and read or ordered or bought all of the books on the reading list. Will have to try to get back to the posts I haven't read yet.

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  72. I love a good ending, particularly one with a twist. Thanks for sharing two favorites. Carole Calladine

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  73. Thanks for all the great posts this month during ReFoReMo! I love circular stories that bring endings back to the beginning. What a wealth of knowledge packed into a month of posts. Much appreciated.

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  74. Endings are often the most difficult thing for me to write. But I love them! Thank you for the great mentor texts!

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  75. Carrie and Kirsti, this has been a very busy ReFoReMo for me. I've been learning more than last year, although last year was great too, and keeping my librarians very busy. I'm going to continue getting them to bring in books for me way past this challenge, because it's good for their numbers, good for my learning, and good for my dad (who has Alzheimer's) as he loves reading these books, too. THANK YOU for the genius and work you've put into this for all of us. Eventually I will pull it all together so that my own writing sings because of it.
    Blessings and hugs.

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  76. I LOVE a good ending. Some of my favorites are of the circular variety, or those that leave things open ended (like those posted above)!

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  77. What a great post about endings...and I am so sorry to see ReFoReMo 2017 coming to an end!!!

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  78. I have learned SO much this month and am sad to see ReFoReMo 2017 coming to an end. Thanks you for all of your hard work in creating and running this valuable resource. Like a sunset, a great ending is pure treasure!

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  79. Thanks for a great ending to a great month! I truly appreciate everything you’ve done to organize this wonderful event!

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  80. Thank you for everything you have given us this month! I'm still catching up on books that I haven't been able to access, so I still have more fun texts to look forward to reading. :-)

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  81. I love your examples! I haven't read either of those but they sound like so much fun. When this month ends it will definitely not be the end of reading with more purpose for me. I have loved this so much.

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  82. CARRIE & KRISTI: THANK YOU for this WONDERFUL post! The questions you pose at the end, about critiquing and making our own stories better, as well as the questions to ask as we review and research new books on the market, are EXCELLENT! I will be posting these where I can see them regularly! And THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for creating this AMAZINGLY INSPIRATIONAL event!!! I have learned SO MUCH! I have made a goal to continue to read and research at least one picture book every day, even though the event is coming to an end. I TRULY APPRECIATE the time and energy you both put in to making ReFoReMo such a SUCCESS!!! THANK YOU!!! And GOOD LUCK with your own writing! I'm already looking forward to ReFoReMo 2018!!!!

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  83. Thank you Carrie for an important ending reflections about how to compare beginnings and endings to see how books have come around full circle.

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  84. Great post! I love surprise endings but when they're not forced. Forced endings make me say, "Huh?" but great ones make me want to read the book again. Thanks for the examples of books I have read over and over! Many thanks for all your work to make our craft better.

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  85. What a great ride! Thanks so much you two for pulling together a great crew with super themes and mentor book selections. I feel powered up to tackle my writing with new perspectives.

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  86. love mustache baby! Can't wait to read monstore :)

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  87. Thanks for a great finishing line post!

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  88. I love to see how beginnings and endings are tied together in books--that has helped me a lot in my writing. Thanks for the great questions for our stories and for new PBs, too.

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  89. One of my picture books changed dramatically when I added a tweak to the ending after comparing the beginning. It was the final touch that made the manuscript ready.

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  90. These are great examples. I always read the first and last page together to see how they relate.

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  91. I'll be paying more attention to beginnings and endings when I'm reading and when I'm writing. Thanks. Barb

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  92. This is a great way to end ReFoReMo! Thanks for another wonderful post.

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  93. This challenge has been thought provoking and a wonderful way to sharpen my craft. Thank you both!

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  94. I love a twisty-good ending to any story! Thanks for this outstanding list.
    Susan

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  95. I had just bought The Monstore. Couldn't agree with you more on these fabulous endings!

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  96. In terms of my meaningful experience with ReFoReMo and this insightful post by you two amazing mentors, I begin and end this comment with a heartfelt expression of gratitude: THANK YOU!

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  97. Perfect end of a perfect month.

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  98. Beginnings and endings for ReFoReMo and for books are simply fabulous.

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  99. Fantastic ending post! Love it!!

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  100. The month has passed so quickly, and I have learned so much. This experience has been amazing - beginning, middle, and end! Thank you!

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  101. What a perfect post for the end of a wonderful month! Thanks girls!

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  102. There are some books that when you finish, you smile, smirk, shiver or slap your knee! That's a book that begins right and has a satisfying ending! Great month, thanks for all your work and prep for a successful
    series of blogs.

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  103. Thank you so much for doing this. I have really enjoyed the process and look forward to continuing my reading and research!

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  104. Thanks so much for showing how the beginning and the ending wrap around to create a satisfying story. Thank you, Kirsti and Carrie for all that you do to make ReFoReMo a success!

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  105. Excellent post! Mustache Baby is my daughter's favorite book! Thank you for another great ReFoReMo!

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  106. Perfect post for a perfect ending. It's been a tremendous month with insightful posts and a wealth of help. Thank you!

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  107. Great questions and insight... definitely changes the way I have been reading books today. Lots to think about... which is wonderful. Thank you!

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  108. I like how Tara Lazar's Monstore is circular and will work to make some of my conclusions tie in with the introduction.

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  109. Time to turn my research of numerous mentor texts into some revisions of my manuscripts. Thank you, Carrie.
    ~Suzy Leopold

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  110. I love Mustache Baby! And great questions to ask as I continue my research!

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  111. Monstores and babies with moustaches--the amazing creativity and fun of children's books. I'm sorry to see this month end, but I guess it's time to put some of my new insights to work in my own writing. Thanks!

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  112. Great advice about checking your beginning and ending!

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  113. Love when those beginnings and endings echo each other in some way. Thanks for the mentor texts and the list of questions to consider.

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  114. What a great way to end - tying things back to the beginning! Thanks for the encouragement and for all of the hard work and planning to make this year great! Liz Tipping

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  115. Ah, yes...the ending - and the tie to the beginning. I now see where a couple of revisions are going to go! THANKS YOU BOTH - for the WHOLE MONTH of "book love."

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  116. Thank you for these suggestions and for organizing this month. I struggle with endings so this post is super helpful!

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  117. Thank you! It's been another educational and inspiring experience.

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  118. Thank you for this post. Great endings!

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  119. Great examples of tying the ending to the beginning. Thanks.

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  120. Love these examples of great beginnings and endings. The questions to ask ourselves about our own work are very helpful, too.

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  121. Thank you for a wonderful month! I've grown leaps and bounds as a writer. I'm still making my way through the list of mentor texts that were not available in my area. This website is a gold mine of information. I'll be returning here often for resources and inspiration.

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  122. As Mary Poppins says, well begun is half done! Thank you for all you did to make ReFoReMo wonderful.

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  123. The beginnings and endings are so important. They really can make or break a book. Thanks for the post.

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