Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mentored: Water to Wine

Our mentor today is Jesus:

Sit back a spell and enjoy this telling of a real event by John.

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.

When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come."

His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim.

And he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast." So they took it.

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now." 

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

John 2:1-11 ESV

**The Best--Even For the Last**

The road to publication is like an expressway with many rest areas. Rest areas afford opportunity for edits, conference/training, contests, critiquing, networking, marketing, proposals, queries, and a myriad of other needs prior to publication. 

Generally speaking, time at these rest areas is spent on the first chapters of our work. Writers toil over each page, paragraph, line, sentence, and word of those golden first chapters hoping to push their manuscript to the publisher's desk. 

The focus on the beginning is good. But the last chapters hold the same importance. (Of course the middle is important but that would be another post)

**Satisfying Endings: 
The master of the banquet expressed his pleasure and satisfaction of the wine served at the end of the banquet.

Endings need to not be abrupt. Following the climax of a story, readers like a satisfying ride to the end. They want to savor the closing pages of a well written story. Sometimes stories have one to two pages following the climax. This jerks the reader to a screeching-slam-on-the-brakes ending. Despite how wonderful the rest of the book may be, the reader is not likely to read the book a second time, pass the book along, or recommend the book.

**Quality Endings:  
The master of the banquet honored the bridegroom by expressing his satisfaction to all who attended.

Readers notice the grammar problems and other editing faux pas in the ending chapters. While he/she enjoys the content, their satisfaction wanes because of errors. These errors reflect on the quality of future stories by the writer.

**Respectful Endings:
Sufficient portions of the excellent wine was available for all.

Every word, sentence, line, paragraph, page of the book's ending needs to respect the reader and God. Pack these pages with power. Take the time to entice the reader to buy another copy of this and your book.

Our focus needs to not only 
be on the first chapters of our book, 
but also on the last chapters.

What tips do you have for writing endings?


Image by:

This blog post by Mary Vee

Mary lives in Montana with her husband and loves to hear from her three college kids. She writes Christian young adult fiction (pirate tales, missionary and Bible adventure stories).
She thinks of writing as: Stepping into Someone Else's World.
To learn more about Mary, visit her blog


Kathy said...

I read to k-2 grade students and they like a touching picture that sums up the ending, too.

I have noticed that popular authors whose books we (elementary students) like sometimes get sloppy in their endings and they leave me unsatisfied. All authors ought to have someone read their book out loud to group of children to see how it flows.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Good idea. Kathy. Stories sound very different when read out loud. Many errors can be caught this way. Good advice, Thank you.

Cynthia Herron said...

Beautiful analogy, Mary, (my twin!)

Merry Christmas!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Merry Christmas, sis. :)

Casey said...

I love that story of Jesus, His very first miracle.

I LOVE a good ending. It must be emotional and tie up so many threads, but tug on the heart too. Emotions must be a key player for me. :)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Wow, great thoughts, Mary. Love this story about Jesus. I have yet to write my first "The End," though I'm getting closer. As a reader, I've found I don't like stories that end suddenly. On one page, the hero and heroine aren't getting along very well, and two pages later, they are getting married.

Love those endings that bring nice resolution to the story problems, add emotional satisfaction and make me say, "Ahhh!." :) Merry Christmas!

Mary Vee Writer said...

I agree about emotions being a key. The emotions, when properly protrayed carry the story to a satisfying closure.
Good thought. Thanks:)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Jeanne T
One of the reasons this post came to my mind was the very concept you mentioned. I too feel the ending should be satisfying instead of abrupt. Thanks for you thoughts.
Merry Christmas to you, too :)