[Tipster] Connecting the Ending to the Beginning

tipster post Dec 17, 2021

In this edition of Tipster, we muse the importance of conclusions. 

We all lose steam as we write. The work of writing is mentally exhausting, sometimes crushingly so.

Our tendency is to get about 80% done with our work - whether writing a blog, an article, a book chapter - or even an entire book - and then peter out.

We trail off.

It's easy to give only a passing thought to how our blog, article, or book chapter ends.


And yet ... the final impression of our writing is what is most lasting.

It's what our readers, well, read last.

What comes last might mean the difference between recommending your book to a friend. Or not.

The point is: Pay attention to your endings.

The Book End Strategy 

This is one of the most popular ways to end well: take the opening story in your introduction ... and refer to it again in the conclusion.

In short, if you open with a story in the introduction, don't give away all the cookies in the introduction. Perhaps leave the final resolution of the story for the ending.

Or you can connect a phrase from the introduction - and restate the phrase in the ending.

This can be done with fiction and nonfiction writing.

Recently, I read a blog post for our weekly Roadtrippers writers group. I had written the piece several years earlier. The post is about fly fishing - but mostly about my relationship with my dad and his friends who are now all dying.

I opened the the short blog post with a quote from the movie "A River Runs through It" - one of the great fly fishing movies ever. Some of you will remember the movie because of the young, hunky Brad Pitt as the troubled younger brother in the family.

Here's part of the quote, what the narrator of the movie says at the end of this classic:

But when I’m alone in the half light of the canyon, all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul and memories. And the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four count rhythm. And a hope that a fish will rise. Only the river, which has flowed since the beginning of time, remains.

In my conclusion of the blog post, I referred back to the phase "And a hope that a fish will rise."

Here is how I closed out the blog post:

And if for some reason I am granted days greater in number than those of my friends, and my kids are too busy to meet me at the river, I will walk the edges of the river alone.

What remains when the only companion left is the river itself is the joy of fly fishing that comes with the hope of a rising fish.

Okay, that's it for this edition of Tipster. There are other ideas for ending well, but I'll take those up another time.