The End

There is a lot of pressure on the first sentence in a book. It has to hook readers. It has to intrigue them, pull them in, catch their attention so they want to read the next sentence and the next and the next. That’s a pretty heady responsibility for one sentence. I always pay special attention to the first sentence of a book. Sometimes, if there’s a book I think I might be interested in reading, I’ll open and read the first sentence. How was it? Did it hook me? Do I still think it’s worth reading? So, I don’t judge them by their covers, but by their openings.

As a writer, I am constantly looking for sentences that spark, that stand out, that are really strong. I’ll comment as I read, or listen, saying “Ooo, I like that sentence” or “That is not how I would have said that: it would be better like this…” or other such similar sentiments.

But the other sentence in a book I think is very important is the last one. How does the book end? What are the final words that wrap up the journey the reader has been on with your characters? It helps develop the aftertaste of the story, the final flavor to suck on while the potency of the plot begins to fade.

In the course of my bookstore wanderings (and I have many), I’ve picked up Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children a number of times. Somehow, I never actually read the first sentence, but I’d read the book jacket. I finally borrowed the audio version from the library and gave it a listen. I liked the first sentence, I liked the pictures (looked through a hardcopy), and I liked the story. But it was the last sentence that really stuck with me. I can’t really explain it. But something about that sentence, only three words long, made me say “Wow”.

“We rowed faster.”

That’s it. That’s the end. And maybe because it’s because it’s so obviously not the end of the story that makes it so potent. So, thank you Ransom Riggs (by the way: you have the single GREATEST name EVER). I thoroughly enjoyed your story. Especially the end.

Do any of you have any favorite last sentences?


~ S.D. Bullard


~ by sdbullard on July 16, 2014.

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