Like a sprinkling of fleur de sel—all flaky crunch and salty pizzazz—a story’s final few words can pull everything deliciously together and leave the reader both satisfied and wanting more. Omit this finishing flourish and we risk ending up with a flat, forgettable tale.
When we craft a story’s ending, our primary objective is narrative closure. But closure isn’t everything. We also seek to pique the reader’s appetite and leave them hankering to enjoy our story again and again, as picture books are meant to be savored. There are many ways to accomplish this, of course, but I’ll focus on one of my favorites, the deft echoing of an idea, phrase, or detail presented earlier in the story. I believe these echoes elevate a story and imbue it with lasting resonance.
Below are five mentor titles for your consideration. While they differ in style and genre, each possesses an admirably well-seasoned ending, thanks to an echo and its memorable finishing flavor.
YOU ARE LIGHT by Aaron Becker
Finishing Flavor: The Universal Becomes Personal
Echo: Food Brings Peace
Finishing Flavor: The Personal Becomes Universal
Finishing Flavor: Compassion Creates Connection
Finishing Flavor: Creating Home and Coming Home
Echo: Nights Full Of Song
Finishing Flavor: Love and Family Endure
As you read for research, look and listen for echoes. While you write, consider which phrase or detail in your story might merit such an echo. Is there one element that tugs at your heartstrings or makes you smile? One that somehow elevates your story? This may be your finishing flavor. As you bring your story to a close, try sprinkling a bit of this flavor, this delicious echo of your words and ideas, onto the last page.
Because every story deserves an appetizing ending, and we must never, ever forget the finishing salt.