Last lines…

3 04 2014

Everyone talks about the importance of the first line in your story, long or short, but there is often such grace in the last line that they need to be mentioned.
The last line can give you a punch, a feeling of “whoa!”, and last lingering taste of the story, that makes it live in your head long after you are done.
The short story “How Far She Went” by Mary Hood, as featured in Janet Burroway’s “Writing Fiction” (2nd edition, pp. 207-213) is an excellent example. The story itself is filled with imagery, familial history, danger, and sadness. It concerns a rebellious teenager who has been left at her grandmother’s by her father. The entire story is worth a read, but my breath caught in my throat when I read this last line:
“The girl walked close behind her, exactly where she walked, matching her pace, matching her stride, close enough to put her hand forth (if the need arose) and touch her granny’s back where the faded voile was clinging damp, the merest gauze between their wounds.”
The whole story, the girl’s turnaround, the meat of what happened, is captured in that line.
The more I read it, the more it hits me. Not a word too many, or a word too few. And yet, everything.



One response

4 04 2014
Heather Brohman

“The more I read it, the more it hits me. Not a word too many, or a word too few. And yet, everything.” I like this last line!


A Narcissist Writes Letters, To Himself

A Hopefully Formerly Depressed Human Vows To Practice Self-Approval

The River Walk

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

Kev's Great Indie Authors

Supporting Indie Authors Worldwide

TED Blog

The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.


An international collective of felt and fiber artists


I need to record what I lived. (Anaïs Nin) I love to live. Maybe that's why I write. (Jostein Gaarder)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,201 other followers

%d bloggers like this: