Enticing Listeners To Press Play Again

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Writing the start of a story often feels like throwing my shoulder against a stuck door. I bang and I bang and I bang until the door opens. That opened door is liberating. I find that once my lede is in place I can write several pages — or at least until I get to another stuck door.

But the more I write, the more I understand that where a story lands may be as important as how it opens. In fact, maybe it was someone from The Moth who said a story needs a solid take-off and landing.

To hold the mirror up to myself, HowSound often has weak endings. The beginnings are pretty decent, I hope, but the ends, well, they just peter out. I find a half-decent quote to land on and then the theme music comes in. It’s like the ending falls from the sky.

Fortunately, I host HowSound. I can talk to other producers about the craft. Not too long ago, I spoke with NPR’s Rachel Martin about story endings in an effort to learn more. And, on this HowSound, Leah Sottile and Ryan Haas unpack episode endings in their serialized podcast Bundyville — strong endings that prompted me to press play again and again.

You can expect more episodes on this topic since I clearly have more to learn. This episode is evidence. I wrote yet another fall-from-the-sky ending despite the fact this is an episode about endings. Yeech.

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