Saturday, April 5, 2014

#atozchallenge: Endings Are Beginnings

2014: A Year In Stories, a project of Pure Slush Books. All work is copyrighted to the individual authors.

So trite: every ending is a beginning. Right up there in the list of Truisms Everyone Hates To Hear, just under "If you love something, set it free," and above "Everything happens for a reason."

But this post isn't about motivational crap. I'm talking storytelling.

And no, I don't mean in the sense of "start as close to the end as possible" either. Very valid advice, but this is about actual endings. Finito. Se acabó. Klaar.

Ever noticed how many stories begin with an ending? The end of a relationship, the end of hope, the end of a way of life--even the end of a life. (What would Agatha Christie whodunits be without a dead body in the first chapter?)

Endings are the ultimate, irrevocable, turning point. They create tension like a motherfucker.

Today Etheline is twelve days old. I'm her mum, Melodie Margaret Pritchett, and I'm twelve days dead. Today was my funeral.
Twelve Days Old, by Kimberlee Smith, 2014 January Vol. 1
2014 January Vol. 1
20% discount & free shipping until Apr 10

Yesterday morning I moved my just-divorced self into a new house. In the afternoon I went to the dentist.
Breakable, by Gary Percesepe, xxxxxxxxxxx2014 January Vol. 1

I ball up old newspapers and my wife's Vogue magazines and start a fire in the sink. I go to the bedroom and rummage through her dresser drawers, returning with lacy bras and thongs, most with the price tags still on. They're slow to catch flame, smoldering a ghostlike smoke.
Storm Lake, by Len Kuntz, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx2014 January Vol. 1

Nachos sound good, but I would have traded all the queso in the world for her to never grab her suitcase from the closet.
Isa, by Rachel Ambrose, 2014 January Vol. 1

He said he'd be home tonight, but maybe not tonight, "maybe" meaning go to bed and don't think about it. Not this time. She's sick of being let down. She tiptoes into the kids' room, slides open drawers, and quietly pulls out underwear, t-shirts, jeans, sweatshirts.
The Storm, by Gay Degani, 2014 January Vol. 1

What do you think? Are endings are good beginnings for fiction--and for life?


~ * ~

A grateful, if cybernetic, hug to all you readers that keep coming back for more of the 2014 project. Your enthusiasm means everything--not just for me, but for every other writer in the series. The Thirty-One 2014ers salute you

See you Monday for Family & Fiends!

33 comments :

  1. These are some phenomenal beginning/endings. I think they are both valid and valuable. There is some song lyric dancing in my head but I am too tired to translate it - just won't come in that clearly. "Twelve Days Old" really kicked me in the gut. Great writing.


    Julie Jordan Scott
    A to Z Challenge Participant/2011,12,13,14.....
    The Bold Writer from A to Z

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    1. Glad you liked them, Julie. If you think of the song lyrics later please come back and let me know--you've got me hooked :) Yes, "Twelve Days Old" kicked me in the gut, too--Kimberlee is a hell of a writer.

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  2. Well every ending is a new beginning, right? Isn't that how it goes. I have never really thought about that, but I guess you are right, most stories do start off with a ending. Great post, thanks for sharing!
    : )

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    1. I'm happy I was able to plant a new seed of thought :) Thanks for the visit!

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  3. Reading your words is inspiring for me :)

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    1. I'm beyond flattered you feel that way, Ananya.

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  4. One door closes...and it has to take you somewhere. Good post, enjoyed it, thanks.
    On the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.

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    1. You're right--the door is closing (or slamming ;) ) on something on *both* sides. Good way to put it :)

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  5. I do actually. JK Rowling did it with the Potter books. "I open at the close". Book 1 was published after all the events of the war with Voldemort had ended.

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  6. Hi Guile .. those quotes are good - particularly Kimberlee Smith's "12 days old" - gosh that struck deep ... and always every day, every time we start again don't we .. just that title! So good .. cheers Hilary

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    1. I agree, Hilary--it's a great title, and a story to match (at least so far... I've only read up to the March installment, and every time she leaves me wanting more). Thanks for the visit!

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  7. Great beginning endings - bet you had to do a lot of research -- another idea to put on my list - thank you

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    1. Glad I could contribute something, Susan :) About the "research"... These authors and this 12-vol anthology project are such a pleasure to read it doesn't feel like research--but it sounds so much more official that way :D Thanks for the visit!

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  8. Those are riveting opening ending paragraphs. Wish I had more time to read some of these books.
    Debbie @ The Doglady's Den

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    1. You can ... one story a day, 1500 words max per each story and many are a lot less than that.

      Available in print, and ePub and Kindle eBooks.

      Print versions of 'January Vol. 1', 'February Vol. 2' and 'March Vol. 3' are now 20% OFF and all print books have FREE SHIPPING until the end of April 10th.

      You can find all versions of January, February, March, April, May and the newly-released June at the Pure Slush Store here:
      http://pureslush.webs.com/store.htm#927776726

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    2. Thanks, Matt! Aw, Debbie, I know what you mean--especially with a project like this, a story a day that's happening in real time, so many authors, so much talent. Like Matt says, now with the discount and free shipping, maybe you'll give the first volume a try, and if you do please *please* come back and let me know what you thought.

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  9. Hadn't really thought about this, but I see it is true! Well done.

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  10. Absolutely true when you say that 'Endings are the ultimate, irrevocable, turning point'.

    - Kripali
    (AJ's wHooligans)
    Sumptuous Living
    A2ZFiction

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    1. Ah, Ms. Kripali--so glad you liked it. Thanks for the visit!

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  11. Interesting post. Something I never noticed. Makes me want to take a look at my books and see if that's how I wrote. Though recently, I know my stories start with a middle of something.

    Brenda

    www.AnEclecticAuthor.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Brenda! In medias res is also a great way to start--a lot of my favorite stories begin like that. I'd be curious to find out if you did write something else that began with an ending, and if so, how you feel about both beginnings. Would love to continue this conversation :)

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  12. I think there are very few actual beginnings. Most are what happens in the vacuum that occurs after something ends.

    LuAnn Braley
    AJ's Hooligans @AtoZChallenge
    Back Porchervations

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    1. That is very, very true, LuAnn--and dangerously close to philosophy, which I loooove :D Thanks for joining in!

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  13. I love endings. Most of my story ideas begin as endings. For me its what led up to that ending.

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    1. Derek, so cool you visited! And great point: endings as inspiration. A lot of my stories begin spinning from an ending, too :)

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  14. What a great post. Here's an ending quote you may like:“The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.” Ivy Baker Priest
    Visiting my fellow A to Zers. Hope you'll visit back. www.widowsphere.blogspot.com

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    1. Great quote, Thelma! Thanks for sharing, and for the visit. I'm off to visit your blog now :)

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  15. Great post! I think endings are awesome beginnings for books because, as in real life, an ending of one thing is actually a beginning of the next. The beginnings you quoted are perfect examples of how that can instantly draw you in and invest you in the story. You think "Oh crap, the mom's dead already? I've got to know what happened!" and it gets you in there right away.

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    1. "Invest you in the story"--YES! That's exactly what happens with a (well-crafted) ending beginning: you become *invested*. Thank you!

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  16. I'm so enjoying your A-Z posts...and learning more about writing along the way!

    D.B. McNicol
    A to Z: Romance & Mystery...writing my life

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    1. Donna, I'm loving your visits :) And I'm so, so happy you've found bits to add about the craft of writing so far. These authors are worthy teachers to learn from.

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