A Good End

So, you’ve read the wondrous first lines of a book, been immersed in the journey through the rest of the pages, been enchanted and challenged, terrified and uplifted, educated and enlightened. And then it comes. The ending. The final words on the page to sum up all that you’ve read and experienced to this point. And these words, if chosen with wisdom and care, will echo through you, reminding you at the most unexpected moments of the other words you read between the covers.

So, as you work on your books, ask yourself: Do my closing words, my endings, leave my readers satisfied? So much so that they can’t wait to grab the next book I’ve written? Or maybe even to start this book over again from the beginning?

Well, here are some closing lines that have accomplished all of that for me. Recognize any of them?

Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and for the mistakes we make because of those illusions.

But the good part is I saved Shiloh and opened my eyes some. Now that ain’t bad for eleven.

And you ask for wisdom, power, and love as you make the anvil sing.

He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.

Tomorrow we will go dancing again. Dancing on the head of a pen.

However, a few days after Sarah’s burial, an epitaph was found scratched into her marker. Though fallen low God raised her up…An angel.

The sign now includes her name, and each time I see it, I see the proof that her little life, like every life, changed the lives of others, and I take heart that I will meet her again in a place of wonder, at the center of the mystery around which our existence eternally revolves.


5 Responses to A Good End

  1. Jackie Layton May 11, 2016 at 3:45 am #

    Hi Karen,

    Do you think stories written in first person have the best closing lines? I’m trying to decide if your endings are all from first person POV.

    Thanks for sharing these great examples!

  2. Michael Emmanuel May 11, 2016 at 7:18 am #

    ‘However, a few days after Sarah’s burial…’ Redeeming Love. That’s a closing line I shouldn’t forget till my hair turns white…

  3. Jenny Leo May 11, 2016 at 7:32 am #

    Is the first ending from Marley and Me? I haven’t read it but saw the movie, and it sounds like it would fit.

    The fourth one might be from To Kill a Mockingbird, but but only because of the name “Jem,” which is silly reasoning because other books can have a “Jem.”

    One of my all-time faves: “His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.” Ring a bell, anyone?

  4. Sheri Dean Parmelee May 11, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    Here’s an ending that I would love to see in print, Karen: As she left his hospital room, that adulterer who had divorced her and stolen all of her money and possessions, she turned back to him and said, “I forgive you.” Oh, wait, that’s mine!

  5. Bonnie Engstrom May 11, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

    All my published stories are romances, so almost all of them – no, all of them so far – end with a wedding scene. I suppose I write what I like to read. It’s so much fun to describe the gown and flowers, even the attendants, and sometimes the guests. The setting is special, too, as well as the pastor or minister performing the ceremony. Obviously, I love weddings.

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