Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Leave a Lasting Impression

By April Moore

Oh geez. 

I’m not sure what impression I tried to make here, but if Facebook had been around in 1982, you bet I would have posted this gem. 
I’m not known for making a great impression, or even an appropriate one, and I often tell myself I should stick to leaving an impression with my books, essays, and stories. (Even then, that's hit or miss.)

Writers leave impressions because they want their name and/or their work to be remembered. Author Kristen Lamb made a hilarious impression by promoting her books using feminine hygiene products. (Seriously, it’s hilarious.) When it comes to book promotion and signings, I tend to lack the creativity to come up an impression-leaving gimmick, so I try to leave an impression with my work. 

We often hear about having a strong beginning to snag readers, which is important, but what about an ending? Isn’t that your final opportunity to leave a lasting impression? It could be what’ll make a reader hug the book to her chest and sigh, or close the book and say, “Hmph. I was kind of hoping for . . .” Even if she enjoyed the rest of the book, the impression you leave at the end, can change how she feels about the entire book. That can also be a good thing. What if the reader found the book just okay, but the ending brought it all together? It happens. Obviously, our goal as writers is to wow from start to finish. 

Every book and story is different and it doesn’t have to  be a happy ending or a cliffhanger, as long as it leaves the impression you hope it will. Take a step back and decide what your overall message is and bring your story around to that; hint at it, at least. Maybe you’re trying to bring awareness to a particular issue. Or you hope readers will be more open-minded about something. Or perhaps you just want them to close the book, smile, and write a raving Amazon review. 

Endings can be difficult to write; they’re not usually my favorite part to come up with, but they are very important to the reader, so devote a good deal of attention to them. You only have one opportunity to leave a last impression.

 How do you leave an impression as an author?

2 comments:

Dean K Miller said...

More and more I find myself drawn to bringing other artists in to my work. Collaboration is something I enjoy (and something you and I have done!) The impression I hope to leave is not necessarily so much with my writing, but with me as a person. People can read my words forever. I shall not last that long and will smile knowing those I've met recall me in a way that let's them smile as well.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I overwrite my endings, going on too long, saying too much. I'm not sure what impression I'm trying to leave in the process...maybe that I've told the whole story and left nothing out?

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