21 Literary Quotes On Beginnings, Middles, And Endings

21 Literary Quotes On Beginnings, Middles, And Endings

We share our favourite literary quotes on beginnings, middles, and endings.

To celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another, I’ve put together a selection of literary quotes on beginnings, middles, and endings. I hope you enjoy them.

Everybody knows stories are made up of three parts: beginnings, middles, endings.

How does this work?

  1. The beginning shows the intent. It reveals the protagonist’s goal.
  2. The middle is full of escalating actions arising from the intent. It is packed with scenes and sequels. The reversal of desires and ambitions causes conflicts in the protagonist and with other characters in the story.
  3. The ending is the logical resolution of the intent and the conflict.

21 Literary Quotes On Beginnings, Middles, And Endings

  1. Human beings love stories because they safely show us beginnings, middles and ends. ~A. S. Byatt
  2. Our story has three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. And although this is the way all stories unfold, I still can’t believe that ours didn’t go on forever. ~Nicholas Sparks
  3. I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity. ~Gilda Radner
  4. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. ~Seneca
  5. There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story. ~Frank Herbert
  6. I always had this idea that you should never give up a happy middle in the hopes of a happy ending, because there is no such thing as a happy ending. Do you know what I mean? There is so much to lose. ~John Green
  7. The opposite of the happy ending is not actually the sad ending–the sad ending is sometimes the happy ending. The opposite of the happy ending is actually the unsatisfying ending. ~Orson Scott Card
  8. Everything starts somewhere, though many physicists disagree. But people have always been dimly aware of the problem with the start of things. They wonder how the snowplough driver gets to work, or how the makers of dictionaries look up the spelling of words. ~Terry Pratchett
  9. Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop. ~Lewis Carroll 
  10. There are only three possible endings —aren’t there? — to any story: revenge, tragedy or forgiveness. That’s it. All stories end like that. ~Jeanette Winterson
  11. Life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It is about muddling through the middle. ~Anna Quindlen
  12. Every thing must have a beginning … and that beginning must be linked to something that went before. ~Mary Shelley
  13. The beginning is the promise of the end. ~Henry Ward Beecher
  14. In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. ~Douglas Adams
  15. If I didn’t know the ending of a story, I wouldn’t begin. I always write my last line, my last paragraph, my last page first. ~Katherine Anne Porter
  16. The last thing one settles in writing a book is what one should put in first. ~Pascal
  17. Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  18. A story has been thought to its conclusion when it has taken its worst possible turn. ~Friedrich Durrenmatt
  19. This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. ~Winston Churchill
  20. And will I tell you that these three lived happily ever after? I will not, for no one ever does. But there was happiness. And they did live. ~Stephen King
  21. The beginning is the word and the end is silence. And in between are all the stories. ~Kate Atkinson

If you want to know more about writing beginnings, middles, and endings, read:

  1. The Importance of Inciting Moments
  2. The Two Types Of Inciting Moments
  3. 7 Extremely Good Reasons to Write the Ending First
  4. The Sense Of An Ending – How To End Your Book
  5. How To Write A Beginning And An Ending That Readers Will Never Forget

by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed these quotations, you may want to read:

  1. The Top 12 Quotes On Writing Memoirs
  2. The Top 12 Quotes About Literature
  3. My 15 Favourite Quotes On Grammar

TIP: If you want help writing a book, buy The Novel Writing Exercises Workbook.

Posted on: 1st January 2014

4 thoughts on “21 Literary Quotes On Beginnings, Middles, And Endings”

  1. “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice and to make an end is to make a beginning.” ~T. S. Eliot


    Happy reading and writing!

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