Writing with Kids – Scolding Adult Authors

I have the distinct privilege of working with third and fourth grade writers in two local school Working with kids writing using their creativity keeps my writing fresh. Their imaginations go to places we’ve long forgotten to explore.

Watching them plan out their stories, watching them smile when they find a funny/curious/outlandish idea and watching them put their ideas down is a highlight of each week. My goal is to encourage them to add details, write complete thoughts and find endings that ‘close’ their stories.

It only takes them a few minutes to grasp the idea of ending rather than stopping a story by writing “The End” in bold letters. I explain that ending a story lets the reader hear the story slow down before it ends. Unfortunately several adult authors (some well-known) don’t get it. They write through action then put on the brakes and, BAM!… the problem is solved and the story ends, leaving the reader filled with adrenalin, wondering why they feel slightly dissatisfied, even discontent.

It first I thought it was a phenomenon related to poor endings in action-adventure books, but it permeates all genre. I just finished a lovely, quiet book (Night Gardening by E.L. Swann) that could have stopped when the main character’s role ended, but it didn’t. The author eased me back to my real world, giving me time to digest what happened, feel the emotions and breathe normally again. Thanks, E.L. Swann. I will treasure you story and the way you concluded the story.

Kids get it. Writing the end of the story comes after the action ends. It’s the time when the author slides you back to your regular world, or at least lets the action slow down so you can breathe normally.


Have you noticed authors who drop you rather than release you at the end of a story? How did it make you feel? I hope you will notice and appreciate authors who release you gradually; their stories last in memory.

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1 Response

  1. Behind the Story says:

    Thanks for the reminder to pay attention to the way the books we read are brought to an end. Beginnings and endings are important … and hard.

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