A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing

by Avi and Tricia Tusa

A laugh-out-loud marvelous sequel to The End of the Beginning from Newbery medalist Avi.

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547537337
  • ISBN-10: 0547537336
  • Pages: 176
  • Publication Date: 04/01/2008

About the book

Avon the snail and Edward the ant are back for another funny--and philosophical--adventure. This time, Avon has decided he wants to be a writer, only to discover that writing is way more difficult than he ever imagined. He finally gets the word Something written down, but there's a problem: What to write next? Luckily, his friend Edward is there to advise.


Brimming with wit, wisdom, and humor, this warm and winning tale of two friends on a quest will be enjoyed by readers (and writers) of all ages.  

About the author

Avi's many acclaimed books for young readers include the Newbery Medal-winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead and the Newbery Honor books Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle as well as The Secret School and The End of the Beginning. He lives in Colorado.            

Tricia Tusa

TRICIA TUSA has written and illustrated many wonderful picture books, including In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck; Mrs. Spitzer's Garden by Edith Pattou; The Magic Hat by Mem Fox; The End of the Beginning by Avi; and her own Follow Me.




In Which Avon Feels Low

It was a dull, rainy morning, utterly gloomy.

Inside his house, Avon, a rather small snail, was staring at a blank piece of paper that stood before him. Across the room, his friend Edward the ant was lying on his back, staring up at the ceiling, which was just as blank.

Avon sighed. “The truth is, Edward,” he said, “I’ve read a lot of adventures. And I’ve been on my own adventures. But I’m making no progress writing about my adventures.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that,” said Edward. “Do you know anything about why?”

“I’m pretty sure it’s at the end of the alphabet,” said Avon, “next to Z.”

“I mean,” said Edward, “that when writing goes poorly, it sometimes has to do with how you are feeling. Can you tell me how you feel?”

“Well, my spirits are . . . down.”

“Avon, must I remind you? We live in a tree. You’re actually up.”

“Then how can I be so low?”

“Avon,” said Edward, “would-be writers often think attitude is most important. More often than not, it’s altitude.”

“I’ve never looked at things that way,” said Avon.

“Then it’s time for you to look another way,” suggested Edward. “After all, if you’re looking down, it’s only logical to assume you’re up. But if you’re looking up, you must be down. Still, I must advise you, some think it’s best to be neither high nor low, but in the middle.”

“I don’t think,” said Avon, “I’ve ever heard anyone say, ‘I’m feeling middle.’”

“Perhaps you need to get a grip on yourself,” said Edward.

“Edward!” cried Avon. “How can I get a grip when I have no hands?”

“My apologies,” said Edward in haste. “I some-times forget that we ants have a lot of hands.”

“I always thought they were legs,” said Avon.

“It depends.”

“On what?”

“Sometimes it’s better to have a leg up. Other moments it’s good to be handy.”

“My mother thought I was handsome,” said Avon. “I’ve always tried to hold on to that. Will that get me anyplace?”

“Avon!” cried Edward. “Don’t go anyplace. Go someplace.”

“What’s wrong with anyplace?”

“You’ll never find it on a map,” said Edward.

“But what does place have to do with writing?”

“Avon,” said Edward, “to write well, you need to know where you are going. My guess is that your writing has lost all sense of direction.”

“It’s hard for me to have a sense of direction,” said Avon, “when I didn’t even know I was supposed to go someplace.”

“Avon, trust me. Great writing depends on your height: low, middle, or high.”

“I’d like my writing to be right up there on the top,” said Avon.

“Nothing could be easier,” said Edward. “Because living where we do, as I’ve said, up in a tree, you’re halfway there.”

“Sounds like a plan,” said Avon.

“Perfect,” said Edward. “Because when it comes to writing, it’s wise to start with a plan.”

Avon brightened. “My plan has always been to write.”

“Exactly,” said Edward. “Write first. You can always figure out what you’ve written later.”

Text copyright © 2008 by Avi

Illustrations copyright © 2008 by Tricia Tusa

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