Setting The Stage

I’ve been thinking about endings and transitions a lot lately. About how we get caught in these conclusions that happen in our lives. Maybe it’s just the season that makes it more noticeable, but I feel like we’re always talking about the end of something: a job, a relationship, or a life.

It’s interesting how endings are conveyed in the English language.  Look at some of the idioms we use:

“All good things must come to an end.”

“The end is nigh.”

“It is the beginning of the end.”

It’s the same with our narratives. For the most part, we as writers are always writing in pursuit of an end point. We spend the WHOLE story working to get the end. And that is usually a very small part of the overall narrative.

We forget about the journey that got us there, and we hardly stop to think about what happens after we close the covers of a book. What new beginning awaits after an ending?  If the end is only the beginning, what really is the ending? This is what I’m asking you to consider in your writing prompt for this week.

Sunset on stormy sea

© kaalimies –

What Writers Have To Say About Endings

“Remember tonight… for it is the beginning of always.” – Dante Alighieri

“End are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin, and there are many things that don’t really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way. Ends are not bad and many ends aren’t really an ending; some things are never-ending.” – C. Joybell C

“Everything starts somewhere, though many physicists disagree. But people have always been dimly aware of the problem with the start of things. They wonder how the snowplough driver gets to work, or how the makers of dictionaries look up the spelling of words.” – Terry Pratchett

“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.” – Louisa May Alcott

“Beginnings are sudden, but also insidious. They creep up on you, they keep to the shadows, they lurk unrecognized. Then, later, they spring.” – Margaret Atwood

Word THE END written on an old typewriter

© triocean –

How To Use This Prompt

Do you write creative non-fiction? Is so, examine a significant ending in your life. Maybe it’s recent or long ago. What sort of beginnings did this ending bring? Did it make room for something different/more desirable to enter your life, or are your memories still caught up in the ending? Why?

If you’d rather try your hand at fiction, think about a significant period in history. Think about the end of this era, and about the period in-between its ending and a new beginning. What was this span of time like? How did it impact those living during it?

Maybe you’re in the mood to write fiction. If that is that case, think about a story you might be working on or have been mulling around in your mind. Don’t think too hard or long about it, but write the ending. What is the ending of this story? When you are finished with writing the ending can it be a beginning to another story? Is there potential for it to be a beginning?

Or you could write a poem. Think about the quotes in this article. Pick one and use it as inspiration for a Villanelle. What is that, you might ask? Check out this link for more information.

Write a short story, an essay, a poem, or even just a paragraph or two based on this prompt. Then feel free to share what you’ve written in comments, post a link to your piece on your own blog, or submit it to our site!

 If you’d like more prompts and can’t wait until next week, check out our free e-book, “A Year of Inspiration: 52 Writing Prompts from the Renegade Word.”