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Beginning, Middles and Ends by S.A. Barone

Beginnings, Middles and Ends

The first sentence of any story has one function, to make the readers want to read the second sentence. The first paragraph should make them want to read the second paragraph and so on. Your job is to get your readers to start your book and to keep reading. You might want to introduce your readers to the characters and the situation, or you might decide to introduce your main character first by putting them in a situation that emphasizes their personality. Or, you could begin with a problem, or conflict, to instantly trap your readers. In the first few pages make sure you give them a peek of what’s to come. Hook them in so that they have to keep reading.

Examples of a beginning:

“Mrs. Gorf had a long tongue and pointed ears. “If you children are bad,” she warned, “or if you answer a problem wrong, I’ll wiggle my ears, stick out my tongue, and turn you into apples!” (Wayside School stories by, Louis Sachar)
I know I would definitely want to keep reading this story. I would want to find out if Mrs. Gorf could really turn the children into apples or what the children do to keep from being turned into apples.

Middles are the heart of any story. The middle is the part where the story takes on strength, depth, and meaning, and in the process comes to life. Now that you have hooked your readers you have to make it worth their while to stay. Move your story along with change and conflict that will build excitement. Keep your story tight, leave out unnecessary verbiage. Keep on your plot, don’t stray and add things that don’t really have a purpose to your story. In the middle, get your characters trapped further into the conflict, make them deal with the conflict, and possibly make it seem as though the situation is impossible. Remember you are getting ready for the big finale.

In order to have a powerful ending you must first have a strong plot. An ending that grows naturally out of the rest of the story will satisfy the reader more than contrived endings. Don’t bring in a new character at the end of a story to solve the problem. A proper ending needs strong characters, predicament and place.

S. A. Barone

Shirley is a published children’s writer. She has publishing credits in Highlights for Children, Turtle, Children’s Playmate, Humpty Dumpty, and Chicken Soup for the Pre-teen Soul. Shirley  has won a Distinguished Meritorious Service Award from the California School Boards Association for authoring an elective program that was adopted in schools in the Western United States and in areas of New York City. To learn more about Shirley and her art, visit www.sabarone.com

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