Have you ever enjoyed a book or movie, only to be disappointed by the lacklustre ending? A good story is incomplete without an outstanding ending. Let us review the ways to help your child avoid the pitfalls of a vapid conclusion in their primary school English compositions!
End with a cliff-hanger
A cliff-hanger is a technique of ending the story such that the outcome of the situation remains a mystery to the reader. Ending with a cliff-hanger is a sophisticated way of concluding a primary school English compositions that exhibits your child’s finely-honed writing techniques. Cliff-hangers draw readers into the story by making them hunger for what is to come. While your child may not be writing a sequel to their story, a cliff-hanger piques the examiner’s interest in your child’s composition. At times, cliff-hangers also add a layer of realism to your child’s primary school English composition. Often, there are no perfect solutions to real life conflicts and ending the composition on a cliff-hanger reflects this.
How can students end with a cliff-hanger in their story? Instead of focusing on developing a resolution to the composition, students should focus on creating suspense by emphasising on the emotions and sensory experiences of the main character. Let us review this technique by looking at how students can create a cliff-hanger for the topic, ‘A Misunderstanding’. Suppose that the main character in the story accuses their friend of stealing, only to discover later that their friend is innocent. A composition with a conventional resolution would end with the characters reconciling after the main character has apologised. Conversely, ending with a cliff-hanger questions if the characters can truly let bygones be bygones. Here is an example of ending with a cliff-hanger:
From the corner of my eyes, I caught sight of a familiar silhouette a distance away, trudging down the grey corridor. That gait was unmistakeable – it was Sam! I had finally found him! My heart leapt into my throat as beads of cold perspiration materialised on my forehead. Thoughts of everything I needed to say to him raced through my mind at lightning speed. I had to let him know that I would never doubt him again. “Sam!” I let out a shriek that pierced the air, prompting the students around me to turn their gazes towards me. For the briefest moment, I thought that I saw Sam froze in his tracks. To my dismay, before I could utter another word, he picked up his pace and headed off.
I stood there, rooted to the ground, watching my best friend disappear into a sea of unfamiliar faces.
Notice that the character’s emotions and sensory experiences are described in detail here, amplifying the tension and suspense in the ending. Did Sam not hear the main character’s scream, or was he ignoring the main character? Will the two friends ever rekindle their friendship? We may never find out.
End with a dramatic one-liner
Longer paragraphs do not necessarily equate to superior writing, and a dramatic one-liner encapsulates this! A dramatic one-liner is a thought-provoking sentence that leaves a lasting, emotional impact on the reader. Many writers utilise this writing technique to come up with a powerful closing sentence that has been quoted over and over again. Let us look at the sample ending above once more. The final paragraph is made up of a single sentence narrating how the main character helplessly watched Sam walk away, thus etching a vivid mental image and haunting emotional impact upon the reader.
Remember, the final sentence in the composition is your child’s last chance at impressing the examiner. A splendidly crafted sentence will boost their opinion of your child’s writing techniques!
Share the character’s feelings
Emotions are the lifeblood of any story. They keep the reader engaged with the story and sympathetic to the characters. Most primary school English compositions require students to write about an incident that is momentous or unforgettable to the main character, and lasting memories are often the ones that stir up powerful emotions. As such, to emphasise on how impactful the incident is to the character, it is vital for students to depict a rich wealth of emotions in their conclusions. What feelings arise when the main character looks back at the events that unfurled?
An exciting way to bring emotions to life is to use show-not-tell to describe the character’s feelings. In the sample paragraph above, we see that the main character’s anxiety is detailed by the “beads of cold perspiration materialised on [his] forehead” and so on. You can find out more on how your child can apply show-not-tell skillsin our trial class.
Insert a relevant saying or proverb
Including a wise saying in the concluding paragraph is a great way of ending the composition as it showcases your child’s knowledge and language skills. This could be quotations from famous people, books, or proverbs that have been proven true time and time again. Of course, such quotations are not one-size-fits-all and students need to be precise about how the relevant saying links to the plot. Ergo, your child should be familiarised with many different sayings and proverbs so that they have a relevant one at their fingertips to use in their compositions.
Many students make the mistake of rushing through their conclusions under time constraints of the examination. If you would like to learn more about how your child can end their compositions with a bang, consider signing up for our trial class.