Great Writers Don’t Need An Ending to Start a Story

Dear Reader:

I remember attending a local southern authors’ convention held in Asheville one year. After listening to several question and answer sessions with recognizable authors…one, less-known, writer responded with a memorable answer to this question ….“Do you always have your ending in place before you start writing?”

Initially I did,” she replied with some deliberation…”I would work backwards…creating all kinds of different scenarios with the characters to get to the set ending.” 

Until one day…I overheard a conversation in a grocery store that sparked a great story idea….but no conclusion or ending. I didn’t realize that I had put myself in a rut by relying on my “backwards writing style.”

I was terrified about the direction my imagination would lead me without an ending…yet, as scared as I was…suddenly I felt freer than ever before in my writings. It was exhilarating….like real life…riding the highs and lows without warning or preparation, yet still managing to land on my feet in conclusion. Since that first experience I never relied on an ending first. I still write by “the seat of my pen.” 

The audience laughed and quite frankly… until I saw the title quote for the blog post today… I had forgotten this incident. After reading the ‘chirp’ it came flooding back.

“Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.” Bob Goff.

Immediately I thought of yesterday’s post where I shared my one and only nostalgic memory of my “Pop.” (my father) For decades there was no “title” to the childhood remembrance until I gave it a title “The Double Lollipop and Pop.” 

Don’t we all live our lives without knowing the ending…each of our stories is made more precious for the not-knowing. It forces us to live in moments instead of minutes, hours, day, months, and years.

If we want our stories to be remembered, re-told at family gatherings…then we better live life as colorfully as our imagination allows….remembering not to get stuck in the “Land of Usually.”

Haven’t you ever called someone, excitedly, to do something spontaneous at the last moment…and you get a response that the person can’t go because they  “usually” wash their hair on Thursday nights or have a television show they watch on Wednesday afternoon or vacuum on Mondays? Really?

I came across this quote, last week, that made me pause .. Don’t forget to avoid “ruts” because they are more comfortable and make you feel secure…instead remember:

“Usually is the enemy of Adventure.”

So until tomorrow…

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.” Helen Keller

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Let’s hear a Big Shout-Out to my third “son” John…my wonderful son-in-law…he finishes out all the Dingle-Turner birthdays on the last day of September.

John, What an asset you are to the family! I can’t imagine life without you in it! HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope this year brings you much happiness and joy with each passing day.



I love this birthday greeting Ginga Wilder sent me….so I will pass it on to you.


My new neighbors, the Smiths, Fin and Virginia, stopped by yesterday with mums in a pumpkin container…adorable…I just added them to the other side of the porch to balance out all the fall flowers. Loving it! Thank you so much Smiths! Have fun visiting that beautiful grandchild this weekend in Augusta!



“More “Pretties”!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to Great Writers Don’t Need An Ending to Start a Story

  1. Rachel Edwards says:



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