Last night in screen writing class one of the bazillion handouts the instructor placed at each student’s desk read “Last Words”. He knows I’m taking the class to inspire my tired brain and not because I intend to write movie scripts.
As he started to discuss the topic, he turned to me. “You’ve heard of this in your writing classes, right?”
I glanced at the paper and said, “No. No one’s mentioned this particular writing trick.”
He seemed surprised. Usually when general writing topics are raised I know something about them.
This is what the handout was about.
These simple rules are about sentence structure and how to leave a reader/viewer with the clearest, sharpest image or idea after every sentence or line of dialogue.
1. Write the most important word at the end of every sentence.
2. Write the most important sentence at the end of every paragraph.
I could hear the whistle of the axe already.
I could already hear the whistle of the axe.
The power in a sentence comes at the end. The last word. You can feel it when a sentence is structured correctly and for maximum effect. Bam! It’s like a good joke. Until you hear the last word of the joke the joke isn’t funny!
The page was two-sided so it said a bunch of other stuff which I’m too lazy to copy.
Bottom line: The last word holds a lot of power. Don’t throw it away on just any old word. When you do it right, the last word really does say it all.
So. To all my writing buddies, friends and crit partners, do you know about this gimmick?? And if you do HOW COME NONE OF YOU EVER TOLD ME?? It’s a good technique.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.