Well, it’s been a year since I started my project on documenting the fanfiction workshop I taught in my son’s fourth/fifth grade class. I got distracted by the end of the school year and never came back to it.
There’s a lovely irony in the place I got stuck: “Getting to the ending.” Endings are, apparently, difficult.
The main thing I told the kids is that there are no hard and fast rules, but people have an intuitive sense of when something is ended or not. The main question to ask is, “Does it feel finished?”
I gave them three general options:
- Solve the problem or mystery or find the treasure
- Have the character fail to solve the problem or mystery
- Leave the solving of the problem or finding of the mystery to the future, but add a resolution
I also provided some examples by reading ending sentences out of various books and asking the kids why they felt a sense of completion.
From that small amount of guidance, most students were able to generate an ending. Some were stuck, and we worked with them individually, offering suggestions if needed. But in keeping with the rest of the course, I kept adult visions of “the proper story” out of it. Once they felt the story had a sense of completion, it was done.
Next up: revision!