There’s a great new blog entry from my super-lovely agent Stephanie Thwaites over on www.childrensliteraryagent.co.uk, all about starting books with that all-important opening. That hook that gets right into your mouth and tugs.
My first sentence for WILD #1: TIGER TROUBLE is:
‘When a tiger lands on you first thing in the morning, even when they’re four months old, you know about it.’
Did I land you? You at the back, stop chortling.
Steph’s blog made me think about ending stuff with bangs too. Nothing muted, nothing neat. Something that goes boom. Literally in the case of TIGER TROUBLE:
‘Did… our house just blow up?’
I confess that this was designed as a springboard into the next book, where it returns as the first sentence. What a cop out. My favourite example of a real, no-hidden-agenda-or-follow-up-book BANG of an ending is Joseph Heller’s CATCH-22.
‘The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off.’
Does anyone produce endings like that any more? Endings that revel in inconclusiveness? I haven’t noticed Wile E. Coyote running off his cliff lately. These days he invests in better footwear, makes friends with Road Runner and stops subscribing to all those hopeless Acme products.
In my picture book text, the main character is eaten and NOT regurgitated in a fit of penitence and stomach acid. Yay for that. Now I’m reaching the end of my teenage novel and the scent of challenge is in my nostrils. How best to bring all the strings of my hormonal balloons together and ignite them in such a way that the balloons explode in a synchronised blast of shredded rubber? As it were? (Is that guy at the back still laughing?)
Any breathtaking endings out there that you love?