Writing is, perhaps, one of the more difficult of the hobbies/jobs there is in the world today. To me, it isn’t the character creation or plot invention or dialogue… it is the BEGINNING that always gives me pause. Perhaps that says something terrible about me, but the beginning of a story should more than just “once upon a time” because the ending should be more than “happily ever after.”
“Happily Ever After” is one of the more boring tropes as far as storytelling goes. Yes, the characters have gone through terrible things and must rest, but the story rarely ends there. Perhaps thats why I fell in love with Lord of the Rings while the story is a beautiful one, there’s more to it after the main plot is over. Do Legolas and Gimili have more adventures afterwards? Heck, yeah, they do! Samwise? Yep.
I feel that “happily ever after” is a bit lazy.
And, so, does that not make “once upon a time” just a bit underwhelming?
Dream sequence openings are also incredibly boring. Set me up for a fantastical, nightmare-quelled world and then dash my hopes with an ALARM CLOCK? I already live that, thank you!!
As a reader… as a writer, the ending should be a surprise, but also set up in the opening sequence. That’s what good storytellers do. Look at Quentin Tarantino; excellent storyteller (personally, not a fan of his movies #kilbilltho) he tells his stories in the most interesting way possible: backwards, forwards, flashbacks within flashbacks. He breaks all of the tropes and is considered an excellent filmmaker.
The problem is that these do not translate well to the written word. Watchmen‘s opening sequence (I’m talking the music and the show-not-tell the backstory aspect) is, in my opinion, one of the best openings.
Again: hard to translate to ink and paper.
And, so, here I am, sitting at my computer, mug of coffee in one hand and just waiting for the slam of inspiration.