"A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end... but not necessarily in that order."
— Jean Luc Godard
Remember the good old days when books were over two inches thick. They started out with the description of the weather. A paragraph or two on clouds alone. Then a few pages on the rolling hills of the countryside and the precise greenish hue of the grassy knolls. Once we had a clear picture of the setting, the lovely story began. Hah!
Today, Margaret Mitchell’s first paragraph would have a starving Scarlett scrounging for carrots in the dirt; her smudged face a combination of desperation and defiance. The first ten pages would see Rhett Butler delivering his infamous ‘Frankly, my dear’...well, you get the idea. Gone with the Wind−they don’tHook, schmook! There’s something to be said for progressively working our way into an epic story.
them like that anymore.
Marv is upstairs sleeping. Lex is lying on the floor behind my chair, snoring softly (occasionally emitting a noxious gas), as I attempt to re-construct my fading early morning dream.
A few nights ago, my husband and I did something we seldom do anymore; watch television. We caught a movie. It started the way of all movies these days. Right into the middle of the action. Then, of course, it backtracks to tell how it all began, followed by the end.The television show, Flashpoint, follows the same format. The show starts with high drama and then across the screen it reads, ‘three hours earlier’ or whatever. Then they lead the viewer toward the conflict. Why? Do we channel surf within the first five minutes if there is no action?
You see that, I asked my husband. It’s the same with books. Now books start in the middle of the story. Grab the attention of the reader/editor immediately and then backtrack.I tend to write my first draft in sequence. Then the editing begins. Paragraphs, pages, chapters, and even dialogue are moved, shuffled, and otherwise re-arranged. It is crucial to get the attention fast and maintain interest even if it means beginning with the end. That has been playing on my mind lately. How important is the order of sequence? Is the reader able to follow the story from start to finish if the start is actually the end and the middle seems to be at the beginning, sort of...?
Sixteen hours earlier.........Sunday morning at six o’clock, I woke from a dream. I was writing and editing. It seems now I can do that in my sleep. I knew immediately that this subject would be my blog for the next day. I couldn't take the chance of forgetting.I rolled off the bed and crept out of the room. Marv and Lex did not budge. My granddaughter, who was spending the weekend, was asleep in the room across the hall. I especially didn’t want to wake her. Our cat, the noisiest member of the household, was nowhere around.
Not fully awake, I tottered downstairs to my windowless office filled with...well, the same stuff I told you about in The Write Space (January 9).Before starting my blog, I checked emails, facebook, blog stats, etc. Then a little mewing sound alerted me to company. Sophie slid onto my lap and into a hug. My day had officially begun. And with it, all the commitments of the final day of the weekend.