Tag: characters

Last Lines and Last Impressions

Some writers feel the first line is the most difficult line to write. Personally, I think it’s the last line. The ending. The finale. Once you get started writing a story, sometimes, the flow is so effortless the story seems to write itself. Then, you reach the conclusion, and everything that has occurred has to be tied up nice and neat with a little bow. Or not. You can do that, too.

How should your story end? With a twist? An explosion? A murder? Should it be happy or sad? Idealistic or realistic? Will the story end with a statement, or a line of dialogue? Some writers will say you should never end with dialogue. My suggestion? Do whatever you feel is best for your story. One of my personal favorite ‘last lines’ comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. 

Here’s a few of my ‘last lines’.

The two of them began to laugh, as the morning continued.

The Witch of Fulton Lane seems to have a happy ending, right? I’m not going to give the ending away here, but this last line comes across as a pleasant one.

We will be okay.”

It seems fitting that Fortune Oyama, the main character in the Fortune’s Wing series, gets to have the last line in Fortune’s Wing: Flies Again. I’m including this line because it doesn’t indicate how the story ended. This could be a positive ending or a negative one. Maybe he saved the world, and maybe he didn’t. Or, maybe he changed it. The only way to know, is to read the story!

And as Nick and I harmonized the opening verse to Come For the Wake, Stay for the Funeral, I thought, this is our moment; this is our time, and nothing can stop us now…

Yes, it’s long, but it’s a fitting end to a great story (and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it). There are many elements in Our Lady of Righteous Rage. The story deals with a group of friends growing up and starting a band and a business together. They deal with crossing the line between childhood and adulthood, divorce, uncertainty, self-esteem (and a lack of it). The last line is a reflection of a long struggle to achieve a much desired goal. 


As a writer, you don’t want to leave your reader with a disappointing ending. But the ending needs to fit the story. So if it needs to be sad, make it sad. If you want to end with dialogue, do it. Give your story the ending you feel it needs. 

Woolaston Entertainment

First Lines and First Impressions

Ah, the opening line of a book or short story. The attention-getter. It’s the line that sets the tone. It can draw you in, or leave you feeling completely uninterested. Every first line I have ever written, have terrified me. Why? Because I know they will either be good, or awful. I mean, who can top It was the best of times, it was the worst of times? Sheesh.

As a writer, you want your first line to have enough impact so your reader will not only be drawn into the story, but have an idea of what kind of story they’re about to get into. But you don’t want to give away too much. It’s like watching a movie you’ve never seen before, and being able to guess what’s going to happen from the very beginning. It’s not easy to do, but sometimes, you get it right. Below are the first lines of some of my books.


Was it a dream or was it reality?

Fortune’s Wing begins with a reoccurring dream it’s protagonist Fortune Oyama has been haunted by. He has visions of a ruined world; a world he couldn’t save. The heart of the story concerns the fate of the world: will it be destroyed or will it be saved? Will things carry on the way they always have or will there be dramatic changes? All of these questions can only be answered by the one who possesses The Wings. 


It was early; around six in the morning.

Not my strongest line. But the rest of the paragraph makes up for it: Veronica Entienne watches her cousin Val pack a few last minute items into her bag. This much is clear: she’s going somewhere. And that’s the most important factor in Valentine: Va’s road trip to L.A. to save her father.


When I was twelve years old, I fell in love with rock n roll. 

There are a few things you can take away from the first line in Our Lady of Righteous Rage. One, this is going to be a story with musical elements. Two, it’s a coming-of-age tale (the narrator makes a statement about something that happened when she was twelve, giving the impression she’s older now). Three, music is very important to this person, especially rock n roll. 


“If you take this much, you’ll feel better, but if you take this much, you’ll see God.”

This is the opening line to a book I’m working on, titled Barrin Heights. I’m not one hundred percent sure of where this story is headed, but I can tell you it’s going to be supernatural. 


First lines: as writers, we don’t always nail them. But you can’t expect success every time. You can’t learn from success; you can only learn from failure. 

Woolaston Entertainment


a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education.
One of my books was recently added to the catalog at the Hampton Public Library: a copy of Our Lady of Righteous RageWhen I read the list of related subjects and search terms in the description, an interesting word caught my eye. Bildungsroman. Of course, I had to Google it: in literature, this is a genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist of a story, from youth to adulthood, in which the character undergoes a change.  In other words, a coming-of-age story. I had always thought of OLORR as a sort of coming-of-age story, but I hadn’t given enough thought to the true meaning behind the genre.
The protagonist of OLORR is a cat-girl named Amy. The story follows Amy from her twelfth birthday into adulthood, from middle school to her career in music. She starts out the way most twelve-year-olds do: spirited, a bit naive, and eager to try new things. Friends, music and guitars–that’s her world. As she grows older and matures, she begins to learn there’s more to life than these three things. Sometimes, things don’t go the way we want them to. Sometimes, you meet Prince Charming, and later, he turns into a jerk. A series of life experiences shape Amy into a mature adult; one who can not only have a great career, but be a fantastic wife and mother.  
Bildungsroman is such a wonderful and appropriate term.
If you’re interested in this genre, here are some other titles you may want to check out:
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D.  Salinger
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


The Perks of Being a Wallflower by  Stephen Chbosky
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton