Cabin Tales Episodes 7 and 7.5: Endings

Just Get it Over With (Episode 7)

Featuring an original story, “Chewing, Chewing, Chewing;” a famous twist ending from Ambrose Bierce; excerpts of gorgeous last lines and satisfying summations; advicd from guest authors Marty ChanJeff Szpirglas, and Frieda Wishinsky; plus a story prompt about a deus ex machina. 50 minutes.

Read or download the full episode transcript here:

Episode 7 Shownotes:

[0:00] Introduction

[2:30] Story: “Chewing, Chewing, Chewing” 

[14:00] Commentary on Ambiguous Endings

[15:00] Copy the Technique: Ambiguous Endings

[16:00] Excerpt from “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce

[18:30] Copy the Technique: Twist 

[19:15] Excerpt from A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin 

[20:30] Copy the technique: Echo the Beginning

[21:45] Excerpt from Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White 

[23:30] Copy the technique: Sum Things Up

Gorgeous Last Lines: 

[24:05] Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

[24:30] The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

[24:50] Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

[25:50] Copy the technique: A gorgeous last line

[26:05] Interviews

[26:40] Jeff Szpirglas on discovering the ending

[28:10] Marty Chan on ending each book in a series

[30:50] Frieda Wishinsky on endings mirroring the beginning

[32:30] Interviews about sad endings

[33:05] Frieda Wishinsky on keeping hope alive

[35:15] Marty Chan on being true to the character

[36:45] Jeff Szpirglas on softening the horror with humour

[39:00] Advice for young writers on how to end a story

[39:10] Jeff Szpirglas on enjoying the discovery

[40:25] Frieda Wishinsky on outlining the story

[41:50] Marty Chan on telling your story out loud

[43:10] Story Prompt: “Not Dead Yet”

Life sometimes sends you a lifesaver.

[48:10] Thanks

Author Interviews about Endings (Episode 7.5)

Guest authors Lena CoakleyKaren BassLisa DalrympleIshta Mercurio, and Tim Wynne-Jones talk about their favourite endings and their recommendations to young writers on how to end a story.

Read the full transcript:

Episode 7.5 Show Notes

[0:00] Introduction

[1:15] Commentary about endings

[3:45] Author Interviews about Endings

[4:30] Tim Wynne-Jones on discovering the ending along the way

[6:35] Lisa Dalrymple on writing and reading endings

[8:55] Ishta Mercurio’s favourite endings

[11:45] Karen Bass’s favourite final lines and series

[14:40] Lena Coakley on reaching the end at last

[17:05] Commentary on satisfying and sad endings 

[19:35] Author Interviews about sad endings

[17:10] Karen Bass likes mixed endings

[20:40] Lena Coakley cries at her own endings

[22:00] Lisa Dalrymple says sad endings reflect reality

[23:10] Ishta Mercurio on life and books and hope

[25:20] Tim Wynne-Jones on satisfying and sad endings

[28:05] Commentary on fairy-tale endings

Excerpts from Perrault’s “Cinderella” and the Grimms’ “Cinderella.”

Ending of Perrault’s “Little Red Riding Hood.”

[33:05] Guest author recommendations to young writers

[33:20] Karen Bass says echo the beginning

[34:10] Lisa Dalrymple recommends keeping the character in mind

[34:05] Tim Wynne-Jones says look for motivation

[38:00] Lena Coakley gives advice on twists

[38:55] Ishta Mercurio warns of separating judgment of self and work

[42:35] Story: Kidnapped by the Moon

The episode closes with a story Tim Wynne-Jones and I made up during our interview.

Thanks for listening.


Music: Music on the podcast is from “Stories of the Old Mansion” by Akashic Records, provided by Jamendo (Standard license for online use). 

Host: Catherine Austen writes books for children, short stories for adults, and reports for corporate clients. Visit her at

Art: The ghostly image is from a wood engraving by Gustave Doré from The Days of Chivalry by Ernest Lépine, 1866. The conversation image is a cropped version of a wood engraving by John Leech from Pictures of Life and Character Vol 1, 1866.

Guest Authors:

Karen Bass

Karen Bass has twice won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction and has received numerous other nominations and accolades for her stories, including one being named as a USBBY Outstanding International Book. 

Aside from writing, Karen works occasionally in a library, and so has a constantly growing pile of books waiting to be read. She loves having a whole new part of Canada to explore and use as inspiration for new stories. Find her online at; on Facebook @karenbassYA on Twitter @karenbassYA and on Instagram @karenbassYA.

Marty Chan

Marty Chan writes books for kids, plays for adults, and tweets for fun. He’s best known for Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul, which won the 2007 Diamond Willow Award. His newest book, Haunted Hospital, launched October 29th. He works and lives in Edmonton with his wife Michelle and their cat Buddy. Find him online at, on Twitter @Marty_Chan; on YouTube MartyChanAuthor; on Instagram @MartyChanWriter; and on Facebook @MartyChanAuthor.

Lena Coakley

Lena Coakley was born in Milford, Connecticut and grew up on Long Island. In high school, creative writing was the only class she ever failed—nothing was ever good enough to hand in!—but undeterred, she went on to study writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She has published two YA novels, Worlds of Ink and Shadow and WitchlandersWicked Nix, her first book for middle-grade readers, was nominated for the Silver Birch Express Award, the MYRCA Sundogs Award, and the Rocky Mountain Book Award. She now lives in Toronto with her two cats, Bonbon and Pirate Jenny. Find her online at; on Twitter @lenacoakley; and on Facebook @lena.coakley. 

Lisa Dalrymple

Lisa Dalrymple is a wandering, wondering, dabbling, babbling, addle-brained author and mind-muddled mum. She has written 11 books for young readers, including Fierce: Women who Shaped CanadaA Moose Goes A-Mummering and Skink on the Brink. Lisa has taught kindergarten in South Korea and Thailand, caught and eaten piranha in the Amazon jungle and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. She now lives in Fergus, Ontario with her husband and their 3 highly-energetic children. Find her online at; on Facebook: @LisaDalrympleBooks; on Twitter: @DalrympleWrites; and on Instagram: @lisa_dalrymple

Ishta Mercurio

Ishta Mercurio was born and raised in an interracial family in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she developed a love of reading and books and big ideas. She now lives and writes in Brampton, Ontario, where she serves as the Chairman of the Board for The FOLD Foundation, a non-profit whose mandate is to lift underrepresented and marginalized voices in Canadian literature. Her picture book debut, Small World, illustrated by Jen Corace (ABRAMS Books for Young Readers), was selected as one of NPR’s Best Books of 2019 and won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for the Canadian region. Find Ishta online at

Jeff Szpirglas

Jeff Szpirglas is the author of over 20 books for young readers, both fiction and nonfiction, including entries for Scholastic’s “Countdown To Danger” series and Orca’s “Tales From Beyond the Brain.” He has co-authored two books about film soundtracks, and is a regular contributor to the award-winning horror magazine Rue Morgue. Jeff has worked at CTV and he was an editor at Chirp, chickaDEE, and Owl Magazines. These days, he spends his non-writing time as a full-time parent and full-time classroom teacher (and part-time werewolf). Visit him online at and find him on Twitter @jeffszpirglas or on Facebook

Tim Wynne-Jones

Tim Wynne-Jones has written 35 books for adults and children of all ages. He has won the Governor General’s Award twice and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award twice, most recently for the thriller, Blink & Caution. He has twice won the Arthur Ellis Award of the Crime Writers of Canada, as well as the Edgar Award of the Mystery Writers of America. His books have been translated into a dozen languages. Tim was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2012. His latest novel, The Starlight Claim, came out in 2019 and his newest collection of short fiction, War at the Snow White Hotel, was released in 2020. Find Tim online at; Blog:; Twitter: @tim_wj; Facebook:

Frieda Wishinsky

Frieda Wishinsky has written over 70 picture books, chapter books, novels and non-fiction books. Picture book biographies are one of her favourite genres. She’s written biographies about Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Frederick Law Olmsted and most recently, Emily Roebling (How Emily Saved the Bridge). Frieda loves sharing the writing process.

Find her online at

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