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After THE END, Second Edition

Teaching and Learning Creative Revision

Barry Lane’s best-selling After THE END helped teachers see revision in a whole new light. The long-awaited second edition keeps Barry’s humorous and endearing tone and updates his ideas, lessons, and activities for teaching writing with heart.

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Barry Lane’s bestselling  After THE END helped teachers see revision in a whole new light, and inspired a generation of students to not only embrace revision, but to realize that writing is revision.  The long-awaited second edition keeps Barry’s humorous and endearing tone and updates his ideas, lessons, and activities for teaching writing with heart, even in the Common Core era.  New material in this edition includes:

  • How to teach argument and informational writing for authentic, powerful results

  • Integrating technology into literacy lessons for today’s students, using tablets, smart phones and apps

  • Qr Code links to video clips that help teachers model Barry’s ideas in the classroom

  • Interviews with professional writers and master teachers about their own writing and revising processes and best lessons

  • Nonfiction connections that help students learn to creatively revise any genre.

  • Updated appendices with professional resources and mentor texts

Rediscover why Barry Lane is a beloved and inspirational teacher, writer, and storyteller.  And “after the end,” know that it’s really only a great new beginning for your students and their writing.

Additional Resource Information

(click any section below to continue reading)


  1. Putting the Quest Back into Questions: Turning Curiosity into Leads
  2. More Than Wallpaper: Using Details to Develop Focus and Meaning
  3. Snapshots and Thoughtshots: Diving and Climbing
  4. Don't Make a Scene, Build One
  5. Explode a Moment and Shrink a Century: Playing with Time
  6. More Kirk, Less Spock: Boldly Go Where No Nonfiction Writer Has Gone Before
  7. Putting the Heart Into Argument: Searching for Our Common Truth and Our Common Future
  8. From Words to Worlds: Playing With Poetry
  9. Don't Fix My Story, Just Listen to Me: Conferring is Connecting
  10. Re-entering the Draft: Making Space Inside the Text
  11. Voice and Choice: Nurturig and Revising Voice and Tone in Student Writing
  12. I Probably Shouldn't Hand This to an English Teacher: Risk and Writing
  13. More Than Rules: Keeping Grammar in Context
  14. When Is It Done? Diving Back into the Text
  15. Revising in the Cloud: Four Roads to Digital Literacy
  16. The Writing Doctor: Index to a Few Writing Ailments

In Depth

After THE END is packed with practical techniques to develop this sense of discovery for teachers and students alike. The book is geared to teachers of the upper elementary and middle grades through high school and into college and beyond. Each chapter is designed around several central "exercises" that teach concepts of craft such as details, leads, snapshots, "thoughtshots," scenes, and the like. The exercise is a tool for teaching-not an end in itself. Unlike ditto exercises, these exercises are meant to expand possibilities, get students thinking in ways they might not otherwise. Ideally, students will be able to apply these concepts to their own writing on their own chosen topics. Furthermore, if a student revises one of the exercises, please remember that that student is on the road to being a writer. And I encourage you to expand on these exercises to create your own.

To promote and encourage even more variation, I have devised a series of supplementary exercises called spinoffs. These could be used as an alternative to the central exercise or as follow-up activities.

The chapters of the book build on each other but do not have to be read consecutively. I've designed the book so that the hurried teacher looking for a quick minilesson on voice can turn to Chapter 11 and find some good ideas. If you're interested in reading in depth about the theory that underlies these ideas, I encourage you to read the wealth of published material.

Some teachers may be puzzled that in many chapters I have made little mention of genre. This was intentional. Though I have tried to give examples of how the concepts of craft relate to research writing, science fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, to name a few, my hope is that by not limiting these concepts to specific genres, teachers and students will be encouraged to experiment with those concepts in the genres of their choice.
Finally, The goal of this book is to create a language of craft to share with your students. Though each writer's process is different, a shared language helps writers and readers to gain control. If writing, like carpentry, is a craft, then this book is a box of tools. Give your students the freedom to make choices of which tools to use when. Don't force students to use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail just because you think they need screwdriver practice. Point out possibilities and let them take action!

Traditionally, the teacher modeled perfection and students struggled to meet that teacher's standards. Today, as teachers move toward individualized instruction and collaborative learning, students struggle to create and meet their own standards of excellence; teachers are learning to model the struggle. To illustrate this model, I have included teachers' writing alongside students' writing throughout After THE END. Yet in talking about struggle it's also important to mention that we need to have fun. Writing is enjoyable. So is teaching. We can't take ourselves or the process too seriously or we risk losing all that we're starting to gain in education. We need to laugh, to play around, to not be afraid of creating a mess or saying something wrong.



“Twenty-five years ago, Barry Lane’s first edition of After THE END changed the way I taught writing. Updated with new lessons, this second edition is even better—a must for teachers looking for ways to get their students beyond “one and done” writing and into deeper levels of revision. After the End is my favorite book on teaching students the art of revision, and it should be part of every writing teacher’s professional library.”

Kelly Gallagher

 “In After THE END, Barry Lane leads us to revitalize our thinking about revision, helping us to understand how revision is an essential and joyful part of the processes of writing and learning.  Barry offers an eclectic assortment of invitations to engage in revision, in the form of teacher tips, tasks for student writers, instructive samples of writing, interviews with a variety of experts, helpful texts, and on-line resources.  Throughout the book, Barry takes on contemporary distortions in writing instruction as he reminds us that revision is meant, above all, to help writers convey their truths.”

Kathy Collins

“After reading the first edition of After THE END, I came to understand the central role revision plays in the writing process. As a classroom teacher, Barry’s original book helped me reconsider every aspect of my writing workshop. With this new edition, Barry asks us to reconsider the work we do as teachers of writing. Barry’s gentle advice is peppered with his sense of humor, practical suggestions, and thoughtful instructional approaches. This new edition will surely end up dog-eared on every teacher’s desk as they mark the ideas they will be able to use to support their students as writers.  After THE END is a treasure trove of resources and lesson ideas easily adaptable to any educational setting.”

Frank Serafini

"After the End should be titled At the Beginning. This classic, now more relevant and engaging than ever, should be the writing book teachers go to before they even think about their writing instruction. Barry Lane, never one for simply telling, shows through examples, interviews, snapshots, and classroom scenarios that writing is so much more than a test prompt, an assignment, or a formula for argument and exposition. If you loved the first edition, you will devour the second. If you are new to Barry's work, get ready for a writing transformation that will change your classroom. . .and your notions about what it means to teach."  

ReLeah Lent