Monday, July 02, 2007

Fireworks and Fourth of July

Posted by Lisa

It ends with a bang and leaves you with a sigh. It should anyways. As you put down a book, when you rest it a moment on your lap before moving on, good writing at the close of a chapter should leave you with a feeling of wonder, astonishment, confusion maybe?

This time of year is a kind of New Year; Canada Day was yesterday (for Canadians reading the blog), Fourth of July is around the corner. When these holidays pass, summer is in swing. Two blissful months of writing and revising lay before you (I know that's optimistic). At this threshold of a new beginning, I find myself thinking about endings. About fireworks. A subtle and intriguing phrase or a bold plot development.
I've been reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm enjoying it immensely, the way I always cherish literature with brilliant prose. And I've been noticing endings. I'd like to share some chapter endings, to kick start my own writing brain (which has been sleeping for days on a recent trip to Quebec).

Chapter 1 Ending (To Kill a Mockingbird): In this passage, BOOM, the reader is eager to know what is going on.

The old house was the same, droopy and sick, but as we stared down the street we thought we saw an inside shutter move. Flick. A tiny, almost invisible movement, and the house was still.

Chapter 2 Ending: In this paragraph, it's subtle the fireworks, but they're there. For me it's the very last line.

My sojourn in the corner was a short one. Saved by the bell, Miss Caroline watched the class file out for lunch. As I was last to leave, I saw her sink down into her chair and bury her head in her head in her arms. Had her contact been more friendly toward me, I would have felt sorry for her. She was a pretty little thing.

Happy writing! Remember the Fireworks.


Anonymous said...

What a coincidence. I am also reading To Kill a Mockingbird.
Words cannot describe the bangs and fireworks, it creates. And with the gentlest of prose.
That scene about Miss Caroline is beautiful.

Happy 4th of July to all my friends in the States.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

What a great analogy, Lisa--the fireworks, the sense of satisfaction, wonder, astonishment. I too have a month of writing left (if I stick to my deadline!)--and I'm on the threshhold of diving into the last 1/3 of my book having honed/revised/polished the first 2/3.

Also, what a perfect book for you to be reading now (although I'd say it's a perfect book to read anytime of the year!)--but I like to think it's about the best that we can hope to be as people and as a nation.

Lisa Marnell said...

Reality - That is a coincidence. I am enjoying To Kill a Mockingbird; it does have the "gentlest of prose" as you so aptly put it.

Judy - The beginning of the end! Good luck with revisions. End with a Bang not a Fizzle (in regards those last boosts of creative energy).


mohanley5 said...

Hi Lisa,
I'm also reading To Kill A Mockingbird. It's my all time favorite. I've read it every yer since I was in 9th grade. (Many moons ago!)

Scout and Jem had the best summers, didn't they? Play, play, play...unstructured, imaginative, OUTDOOR play!

mohanley5 said...

Sorry about the spelling error! (year) I had trouble posting took several times to get it to accept...perhaps I should have taken that opportunity to proof?!