Saturday, 6 March 2010

Saturday's Writng Quotation Examination

A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end... but not necessarily in that order.  ~Jean Luc Godard

Books often start at the end and working their way to... the second ending. End...beginning...middle... end.

Why? What does that mean?

Well, basically, you need an exciting end at the beginning to get your reader reading. And you need an exciting end at the end to get your reader buying your next book. So, how does a writer have two endings?

Here's an example, the main character is found dead at the beginning of the book... it's shocking and the reader wants to know what happens. The beginning and middle discuss the event and reasons why and the ending describes the event.

Look at the movie/book - The English Patient... The MC is in a hospital. What!? Why? Well, then the movie goes on to relate what happens.

One of the best examples of the ending starting first is a movie entitled Vantage Point. The president is shot at the beginning and the rest of the movie gives different POVs as to what happened.

This is why I love writing, we have the freedom to break the rules.

What does this quote mean to you?

6 comments:

Mason Canyon said...

I just read a book that falls into this group, "Eternal on the Water." This book starts out with a death, then tells how the couple met, and finishes with bringing everything back to the point of the death. Even though everything is wrapped up in this book, a second book could still be written as a follow up to what happened after the death. Great post.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Thanks Mason, I'm beginning to love the quote Saturdays.

ann

Jim Murdoch said...

Of course the thing about most of those opening endings is that they lack context and so misdirect the reader into expecting one thing whereas when the actual ending arrives (and the perspective changes) it can be presented in a completely fresh way.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Jim, exactly. And so writers can take what they want from it.

ann

Harley D. Palmer said...

I agree with Jim. One of my novels does this exact thing with a chapter, not the entire novel. Chapter one begins with a scene in a girls pov as she's waiting for death then the actual scene later at the end of the chapter two it's from a guys pov - the son of the man who sentenced her to death.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Thanks Harley for your comment. I think your story is a case in point. I think the wonderful thing about novel writing is the flexibility of the writer.

ann