Saturday, August 13, 2011

The beauty of memoir: your vignettes’ strong endings

Finish your individual vignettes with punch, with muscle.

A weak ending could make your story fall short of its potential impact.

A strong ending, however, offers readers the rich lessons your story contains.

This is where the beauty of memoir shines. Keep in mind the definition and purpose of memoir:

Retrospection, pondering, and examination are required.

Think about why you are telling your story.

What is your current understanding of what God was doing?

Include Bible verses that illustrate and validate your vignette.

What did you learn from the experience?

What did you learn about yourself? Do you now see a pattern? Some repetitions?

How was your faith strengthened as a result of the experience? How was your faith strengthened for the next difficulty?

What new person did you become as a result of the event?

Write your discoveries into each vignette’s ending.

Remember: your stories can do more than entertain: They can play a role in shaping the spiritual lives of those who read them—your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and anyone else you choose.

Write an ending “elegantly crafted that does not end with ‘and as you can see, “all things work together for the good.”’” (Cindy Blomquist, editor, Women of the Harvest, 

"… My biggest pet peeve … is a weak last paragraph. Why? Because I need satisfaction: a well-paced ending gives me closure and makes me feel good about my investment in reading.… A bad ending is like a car cruising along in the fast lane about to pass up its appointed exit, only to make it by crossing three lanes of traffic without looking to see what catastrophes have occurred by this abrupt and careless behavior. Don't be that kind of writer (or driver) .… Allow yourself the time to wrap up your [story]…. Evoke a call to action. Tell me about the transformation that resulted. Drive your point home without crossing 3 lanes of traffic at 100 mph. And please, oh please, don't use a verse from the Bible to wrap it up...." (Cindy Blomquist, editor, Women of the Harvest,

An effective ending leaves a lasting impression upon your readers.

Writing a strong finish takes time and thought.

If necessary, set your story aside for a few days, pray, and then craft your ending.

Conclude your vignette so your reader will feel inspired by reading it.

Create an ending for each vignette that will move your reader to ponder,

maybe laugh,

maybe shed a tear,

and, most importantly, to apply your story’s lessons to his or her own life.

Related post:
What is a memoir

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  1. Linda,
    This sure does resonate with me,"finding some meaning or hope by the end of the story" Thanks for a great post about crafting and powerful ending.

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Kathy. That Jerry Waxler quote IS good, I agree! That's what S M 101 is all about: Finding meaning and hope by the end of the story, if not before. Lots of things to get excited about!