WRITING PROMPT : Jacqueline Wilson #5 Finishing the Story

What’s the story?

Best-loved author Jacqueline Wilson has written over 100 books – and now she’s sharing her wisdom with you and your pupils in a series of Creative Writing Top Tips! Jacqueline Wilson’s Top Tip Number FIVE is about how to finish a story . . . 

“That’s the best bit. You’ve written and written, and now you’ve nearly finished the story. You can’t wait to write THE END after the last line. It’s a terrible temptation to hurry things along, because if you’re anything like me you just want to be finished with the whole thing. I used to find I wrote the last few pages of my stories too quickly, in a hasty scrappy sort of way, and then an editor (they’re a bit like your teacher, and even more picky) would suggest I rewrite part and expand it and think it all through carefully. 5 How to end your story Now I try to give the last chapter even more time and attention than the first. I try to round everything off in a satisfying way. That doesn’t mean I always spell everything out. Sometimes I deliberately leave my readers to work out what’s going to happen next, though I always give a heavy hint. (Lots of you want to know if Lily gets reunited with her family in Lily Alone – or does Destiny make it as a famous singer in Little Darlings – or will Hetty ever get together with Jem?) I wanted to keep all the options open – but if you find my endings disconcerting you’re always free to write your own versions. I always try to write reasonably happy endings – but occasionally characters play tricks on me and won’t do as I tell them. I think my saddest book is My Sister Jodie. I had no intention of making it end like that – but somehow my hand wrote the story in a very unexpected dramatic way. So, let’s say you’ve taken your time over your ending and are pleased with your story. I’m afraid you’ve still got a little work to do, especially if it’s a story for school, for a special project, for a competition. Read it through. See if there are parts that don’t seem very important, or they’re maybe simply a bit boring. How can you improve them? Could you pop something new in that will make your story seem more interesting? Have you checked all your spellings and remembered all your punctuation? I know, these are the boring parts. I hate fussing over everything too – but it’s truly worth it. It’s often only when I’ve got to this stage that a sudden really good idea occurs to me. I don’t like rewriting – but it’s generally vitally necessary. You want your story to be as good as possible, don’t you? The best part of ending my book for me is sending it to my friend the illustrator Nick Sharratt. He’ll read my story very carefully, often several times, and then send me a few illustrations of the characters. He always gets them exactly how I imagined them – it’s uncanny.” Jacqueline Wilson 

What’s the resource?

Activities include:

  • Small Group Warm-Up: Film Trailers
  • Completing a Plot Graph
  • The Final Touches

Why use this resource?

You’ve done all the hard work… but ending a story is often the most difficult bit! Help children to organise their ideas by sharing plot graphs, understanding cliffhangers, and exploring the idea of resolution in a story.

Get the WRITING PROMPT : Jacqueline Wilson #5 Finishing the Story