Tag Archives: endings

How do I end it all?

I have discovered the biggest challenge I have as a writer is how to end a story. I always admire other authors who can end a novel perfectly, sliding in to home base gracefully with a rousing cheer from the crowd. Meanwhile, I have the impression that as I’m racing from third base I start to stumble over my feet and fall flat on my face as I hit home. I then hop up as quickly as I can, dust myself off, and look around furtively to see how many people noticed.

I spend a lot of time trying to rewrite that fateful run.

The problem is not limited to novels. It can also include blogs. In the past, I even worried about how to end e-mails. At least, I have finally come up with a fail-safe method for those. The reliable ‘Have a nice day/evening/weekend’ is always well-received, often prompting the same ending when the e-mail is answered.

The problem with endings is that they can easily sound awkward. It’s like being at a party and not being sure how to make your exit.

First of all, it’s about timing. You don’t want to leave too early, because then you’ll be branded a party-pooper and a disappointment. On the other hand, you don’t want to be the last to depart, because the hosts will be rolling their eyes behind your back and wondering how to get you to shut up and leave. I have spent countless evenings trying to convince my spouse it’s time to go. But, I digress.

Secondly, it’s about how to say your goodbyes. Is a simple ‘Thanks, that was fun.’ sufficient? Should you put more feeling into it, with a hug and an exuberant ‘It was wonderful!’? Of course, it often depends on how well you know your hosts and, in some cases, how much alcohol has been consumed during the evening. You may not have any choice when it comes to the level of exuberance. But, again, I digress.

My point is, in my opinion, the ending of a piece of writing has the highest potential for awkwardness and I tip my hat to those who have mastered it. After all, it is when you and your reader go your separate ways and you want to leave them with a good impression.

So…um… I guess that’s it. Anyway, have a nice day (evening/weekend).

****A.J. McCarthy is the author of Betrayal being released in July 2015 by Second Wind Publishing.


Filed under books, fiction, writing

This In-between Life by J J Dare

A new chapter is starting in my life. My youngest, The Baby, is moving a gazillion miles away. While it’s actually only five hundred miles away, it feels like a gazillion. She’s never been more than ten minutes from my home but she is setting temporary roots in Austin, Texas. She wants to see more of the world than our little fifteen square miles of boringness. I don’t blame her. I want to see more of the world, too.

My baby girl is cutting the apron strings and flying out of the nest. She’s going solo, on her own, away from the nearness of family. She wants this adventure and wants to make it on her own as a full-fledged adult. At twenty-five, I suppose it might be time for her to try. Still, it’s hard to let go. As a parent, you never stop caring and worrying about your children, no matter how old they are. My mother never stopped worrying about children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. She fretted about her family until the day she died.

I will fret, too. I think about my brood constantly. My youngest will be heavily on my mind. I can’t picture her as an adult. To me, she is always The Baby of the family. It’s funny because by the time I was her age, I had been married, had a child, divorced and married again. My adventures in life started early and haven’t stopped.

I’m following her to Austin to see her settled in. I’ll be driving her car while she drives the moving truck. Another first for her, but another step toward taking charge of her adult life. You see, I babied her far too long. I tend to baby all my children forever. That’s what the mother in me demands.

It was amusing when she told me “You can’t drive the truck because your driving scares me and you can’t ride with me because you’ll stress me out.” Fortunately, this was said in a loving and almost paternal tone. Am I experiencing the beginnings of the student becomes the teacher or the child becomes the parent? Upon reflection, my other two adult children sometimes talk to me with the same tone. I didn’t realize I was that old. Blah.

I’ll help her settle in and together we’ll explore a little bit of this Texas city that has enthralled her. After a few days, I’ll fly back home.

As I’m writing this blog, I think about how many of our life chapters are written like chapters in a book. We have beginnings and endings, and many chapters in our lives. But, always, a beginning and an ending. We start fresh so often, we don’t really see our new beginnings. Even the most trivial event can set us on a different path in life. Endings and beginnings.

Life is a book of love, sad partings and adventures. Our stories never stop, even when we die. Like a book, a life lives beyond its end. As long as we are remembered by our loved ones, we live forever.

As my youngest takes forceful, determined steps toward a new life chapter, I will be terribly sad since she is so far away. But, who knows? She wants me to move to Austin, too. Or to wherever she is. All of my children are adults, but they are still babies to me and I’m still Mommy to them and those two things will never end.


J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and too many works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

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Filed under writing