Famous Last Words…

I received some promotional postcards today from Plainpicture.com, and one of them looks like this:

It has got me thinking about that last page in a novel: how an author must feel reaching the end of their 100,000 word manuscript; how long they may have spent thinking about those last words on the page; how those final words often have the power to make or break your final judgement of a book.  Will they leave you entranced by the novel (wonderful till the very last line!), shocked and delighted (what a brilliant twist!) or ultimately disappointed (what, that’s it?)

A lot of importance is placed on the first lines of a book, designed (more often than not) to capture the reader’s attention from the get-go. How many of you read the first lines of a book in a bookshop before deciding whether or not to buy it?

Starting a story strikes me as the easier side of writing.  Isn’t that the classic exercise given to kids in school when introducing them to creative writing –  give them an interesting starting sentence and tell them to finish the story? Teachers get the easy part, the students are stuck with the more challenging task.  Even wonderfully successful writers can have a hard time with endings – take Stephen King, for example, who famously writes good and bad ones. I do remember my husband reading one of his books which shockingly finished with something akin to ‘and then he woke up and it was all a dream.’

So, take a moment to think about the importance of those last words in a book. Are there any novels with great or terrible endings that stand out for you?

Chiara Priorelli, Publicity & Online Marketing Manager

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