A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…(Star Wars)
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. (Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…(Charles Dickens: A Tale Of Two Cities)
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.(George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four)
All children, except one, grow up. (J.M. Barrie: Peter Pan)
Imaginative beginnings pack a literary punch!
Opening lines grab our attention, set the tone, and leave the reader wanting more. Just look at the famous openers above. They have stood the test of time and continue to distinguish each literary masterpiece.
At the other end of those compositions are the closing remarks. They are a summation, a final note, or crescendo of the author’s work.
Dynamic beginnings and endings are the bookends of a well-crafted piece of writing.
They become the hallmark of an author’s work. I have discovered that my original opening and closing remarks rarely make it to the final draft. The refining process transforms my article. Consequently, the words I write in the rough draft change as my content and direction shift. Other than the title, these are the last components that I rewrite.
In her book Just Write: An Essential Guide for Launching Your Writing Career, Susan Titus Osborn suggests how to begin and end a composition. Because these are such critical elements for any writer, I have used her recommendations along with several others to offer possible ways to start and end your writing.
- Characterize a person by giving a quick glimpse into their looks and personality.
- Tell a short narrative, a memory, or reminisce.
- Make a statement of faith that will be defended throughout the writing.
- Present a problem to be solved.
- Write dialogue that draws the reader into the body of the material.
- Choose highly descriptive words that set the tone of the piece.
- Ask a thought-provoking question of the reader
- Use quotes to begin an article, devotion, post, or book chapter.
- Begin with a shocking statement or surprise.
- Stir the reader’s curiosity.
- Use a contrast.
- Report a statistic.
- Define a term.
- Use an analogy, metaphor, or simile.
- Tell a story.
- Summarize the highlights of the story or article.
- Write a straight statement, something you want readers to remember.
- Give a word of advice. What did you learn from your experience?
- Shock the reader with an unexpected ending that startles or surprises.
- Make a point not previously mentioned.
- Close with a pertinent quote.
- Replay the lead sentence of the chapter or article.
- Tie it into the previous paragraph.
- Restate the purpose of the writing.
- Use a play on words, something clever and catchy to lodge in the reader’s mind.
- Evoke a thought or feeling.
These final suggestions refer to website posts:
- Encourage the reader to take action…share the post or a Call to Action.
- Link to other resources.
- Ask a question.
- Tell readers what is coming in the next post.
- Promote a product or service.
Dynamic beginnings and endings are an important link between the author and the reader. Beginnings introduce the subject and invite the reader to engage with the content. They are the calling card. Endings are the farewell, the memorable last words of the author before the connection is cut. Write them well and you will turn your readers into loyal fans.
(I used quotes for my beginning. The ending was a combination of summation, making a new point, and metaphor!)