MONDAY FORTUNE COOKIE, 1/28/13
Posted by Denise Golinowski
GOOD TO BEGIN WELL, BETTER TO END WELL
SNARKY RESPONSE: Well, by all means, let’s have dessert! Hear hear!
Sorry, appetizers, you may get a nod, but the Fortune Cookie Guru is standing strong for his brethren.
As an unknown wise man once said, “Life’s uncertain. Eat dessert first!”
This reminds me of a piece of writing advice I received from my dear friend and author, Robert E. Bailey – the best comes last. I know we writers bewail and belabor that crucial first line, but after that piece of deathless prose has been nailed, what follows had better follow through on that promise.
The last word in a sentence, the last sentence in a paragraph, the last line in a chapter, the ending of the book – all need to have a punch to keep the reader hooked or, in the case of the ending, provide them with that “ah” moment.
Ending a sentence strong will keep the reader reading. The words you select for ending your sentence must be active, strong, and lead the reader to the next sentence. Writers can make the mistake of putting the focus of their sentences at the beginning, like boxing’s “leading with your chin.” You leave yourself open (ended) and the sentences fades. If you bury the focus of the paragraph in the middle, your reader will lose sight of it. If your chapter doesn’t include that little hook to send the reader to the next page, they might close the book and not come back.
First draft: By moving the focus of the sentence to the end, you land that punch.
Better: You land that punch by moving the focus of the sentence to the end.
Re-read your writing and think about how your sentences are arranged. What is the point of the sentence and is it positioned to properly deliver a strong finish?
Now, does the pie come with ice cream?