*** Right now, up front, I am going to tell you that by the end of this blog I will have figured out a way to tie in research on story telling and spoiler alerts to my own writing experience. Also, at the end ofThe Return of The King, Frodos quest to destroy the ring is successful and he goes with Gandalf to The Undying Lands. And, at the end ofAlice in Wonderland, Alice wakes up and realizes it was all a dream.***
Okay readers, I want you to know that I just did you a huge favor. There is new research which suggests reading the end of a story first, or finding out how a story ends beforehand is beneficial to critical thinking and understanding on a deeper level.
How many of us just couldn’t stand it and flipped to the back of a book to find out how things turned out for the hero or heroine of our story? Or how many times did you ask an adult to read the same story to you as a kid? What about those of you (and I know who you are) who watch a movie over and over again? Do you watch for signs of change in the characters since you know where they are headed? According to several new studies, in doing that, you allow a part of your brain to stand-down and a more important one to take charge. Apparently it is also more entertaining to know the conclusion first.
So on my current project, I am closing in on the ending. Would it benefit me and my readers to simply post the ending as a preface? It could go something like this: Half the characters die in a food poisoning fiasco at a fancy French restaurant in Manhattan. (It was the frogs’ legs) The teenage girl inherits all the money and ends up marrying the son of the hedge fund manager. The dictator from the fictional African country flees his homeland and becomes a country singer busking for a living in Austin.
I suppose life is much the same way. We know how it’s going to end… shouldn’t that make it more interesting?