Today, we continued the revision process for our Bend Three Personal Narrative flash drafts.
We had a two-part mini-lesson…which began with writing a “meaningful ending” for your audience.
Ending Stories in Meaningful Ways
“There is no right or wrong approach to crafting a story’s ending, but a good story needs and deserves a good ending” –Lucy Calkins.
- Good endings provoke strong emotional responses, sometimes causing readers to cheer, sometimes causing readers to sob.
- Good endings are the ones that inspire readers to think and feel and live a little differently.
- Writers use ending to resolve problems, but endings also tie back to the big meaning of the story and leave readers with a final message.
Endings are about tying up and completing your story, but strong ending also have the power to make your reader understand your story’s big meaning in deeper, more complicated ways. Your ending are the last words you leave with your reader. They must resonate and bring your whole message to light.
Think about the ending of The Outsiders. What made it so profound?
Writers, ask themselves this important question:
“What is my story really about? What do I want my readers to truly understand about my journey, as a character in this story? Then they write an ending that reveals this to the reader.
Let me show you what I mean:
Try to remember this small mentor text excerpt about the author ruining her father’s garden…
…I squeezed the crushed purple petals in my hand, afraid to watch his friendly greeting dissolve into anger and disappointment. “And why shouldn’t it?” I chastised myself, “He trusted you to be in charge, and look what you did.” A few feet from me, Dad stopped suddenly. As he put the crate of new plants down heavily, his eyes traveled over the ruined flower bed and then stopped on me. I was expecting to see fury etched into his face, but instead it was a look of bewilderment and even worse, hurt.
“Dad…” my voice broke as I tried to apologize, “I’m sorry. I’ll fix it, I promise.” Dad swallowed and nodded. I could tell he was having trouble finding his words. He nodded again, still silent, and pulled me into his arms.
“Dad…” my voice broke as I tried to apologize, “I’m sorry. I’ll fix it, I promise.”
(This shows actions and words)
Dad swallowed and nodded. Then he looked away from the wrecked garden and fixed his eyes on my teary face. Placing his strong hand on my heaving shoulders, he said gently but firmly, “You made a huge mess, you really did—these flowers are ruined.”
(This shows more what dad does and how he feels)
A wave of shame rolled through me, and I looked down. Dad was quiet for a moment before he pulled me into his arms and murmured into the top of my head. “But you’ll help me. We will fix it, we’ll make it nice again.”
(This ending shows how even when dad is disappointed – he doesn’t push away – he is still there for her—which is what her story is really about.)
I want you to try now. Take out your drafts and start by reminding yourself what your story is really, really about. As a character in your narrative, what were you wanting or struggling with? When you are ready, turn and talk to your partner about how you might revise your ending to bring forth what your story is truly about.
After we completed the active engagement above, you revisited the structure (organization) components involved in making a strong personal narrative:
• Includes a lead that sets the stage and contains a clear focus for the narrative
• Uses appropriate paragraphing between narration and dialogue
• Contains a logical sequence of events
• Uses transition words and/or transitional phrases to show changes in setting, time, tone, or mood
• Contains an ending that creates closure and has a resolution that connects to the main focus of the narrative
You were encouraged to make revisions to your flash draft in a designated color (touch base with me if you are absent). At times, some of you considered looking back into Notability, the narrative Schoology folder, or your Bend Two Personal Narrative to see your previous successes.
- Review Sentence Structure information (quiz re-take on Wednesday)
- Fishbowl Group #4: written portion and wiki review
- Fishbowl Group #1-3: Keep reading