I was writing a post and referred to "Milk Truck Ending" and then realized that people probably do not know what that means. Then I wondered if it was just a phrase known to me and my high school creative writing class. I typed it into Bing and this is what I got. That is not what I was looking for, although amusing. "What would happen if you rear-ended a milk truck?" I did not watch it, but you can.
So Milk Truck Ending was introduced to me by my high school creative writing teacher in the year. . . . . we will say the 90's for the sake of not disclosing how ancient I am. Mr. Miller had a very unique way to teach this class, and I wish I had taken his class every day of every year of high school. Okay, sorry that was a tangent.
Milk Truck Ending is when the story is going along and your main character walks across the street, and "Bam!" a milk truck hits him. End of Story. Mr. Miller was trying to teach us what were Milk Trucks in our writing, and what was a way to avoid them. Milk Trucks came in the form of "Then I woke up. It was all a dream." That worked in OZ and then again in Vanilla Sky, but we are not in Oz anymore and you are NOT Tom Cruise. Unless you are Tom Cruise, and if so, can I interview for my blog, or can you write a guest blog?
Forms of MILK TRUCK ENDINGS:
- Main character pulling off a mask and is someone else all along.
- Character gets amnesia all of a sudden.
- Character arrives at the end of the book and fixes or changes everything.
- Sudden Act of Nature that ruins everything.
- Stranger saves the day.
- "You have been listening to a cat tell this story the whole time. How do you like meow?"
- A miracle.
- An evil tiwn emerges.
- Character Sudden Change of Hearth without Warning or Justification.
- "Then, I died."
- Something that comes out of nowhere and changes everything.
*And I am sure there are other forms of Milk Truck Endings.
I wrote this wonderful short story during this creative writing class. I was not stuck on the ending. I had it planned from the beginning how I was going to end it. The main character was visiting a college campus and people kept mistaking her for someone else. At the end she hits her head, and all her memories flood back to her. She remembers she was in the Witness Protection Program, and she actually was the person everyone was mistaking her to be. I was so excited about this and handed it in to Mr. Miller.
I received the paper back and Mr. Miller wrote, MILK TRUCK ENDING. I was crushed and he was right. I had fun writing it, and felt witty, but it was not fair to the reader. There are times that surprises and something coming out of left field is okay, but usually the reader has to see it coming a little bit.
For instance, if the character usually is a clumsy bike rider, and always has near misses with vehicles, and THEN a MILK TRUCK hits him/her, that might be okay.
From my basic looks on the internet, I don't think MILK TRUCK ENDING is a coined phrase, but I love the phrase. I try to avoid it, and so should you. Come on, hit by a Milk Truck that is udderly ridiculous. (I couldn't resist. I had to milk it for what it was worth. Don't cry over the spilt milk.) Okay, I am done.