by Christine Liu-Perkins
We often labor over the beginnings for our books and articles, but do we pay as much attention to the endings? Endings offer the opportunity to leave a lingering impression on our readers. Strong endings can leave a reader satisfied, even inspired.
When I wrote the conclusion to At Home in Her Tomb, I wanted modern-day readers to feel connected with people who lived two thousand years ago. I knew many people would pick up the book because they were interested in mummies. But by the end, I hoped readers also recognized our similarity to people of the past "in our questions, in our hopes, and in our desire to understand the world and our place within it." (p. 63)
Here are a few endings to nonfiction books that impress me:
"Taking a look at the world's mummies can help remind us that, past or present, every person has a story to tell."
(Mysteries of the Mummy Kids by Kelly Milner Halls, p. 65)
"George's love of words had taken him on a great journey. Words made him strong. Words allowed him to dream. Words loosened the chains of bondage long before his last day as a slave."
(Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate)
"One last task. One final defiance. One way to deny his enemies his head.
Drawing his last breath, Yoshitsune gasped: 'Quickly, quickly, set fire to the house.'"
(Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner, p. 155)
For more information and inspiration on different types of endings, here are some articles I found helpful:
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