Don’t Save “the Good Part”

I sometimes wonder about “the good part” of a story.

You know–that part where everything comes to a head, or something huge and game-changing happens? I look at stories with very clearly defined moments like those, often dominating the narrative by the creator’s design, and I think . . .

. . . what if that was the beginning of the story?

For example, say someone wrote a super hero story with a powered protagonist and their best friend hunting for a murderer. And then, at the very end of the story, the super hero finds out that their friend is the murderer. It’s surprising and shocking if done well, and it shoves the cast into an unexpected, uniquely tense situation . . . for the last episode and a half of the season, or the last few chapters of the book.

I look at that, and I wonder, “What if all of that happened in, like, chapter 10 of 20 instead of chapter 17 of 20?”

“What if the villain became a good guy in the second book, instead of having a change of heart in the last chapter of the last book and dying 7 pages later?”

What if, instead of saving that ace, and using it as a conclusion, a writer just went all in? What if, for half of the story, the protagonist struggled with hunting down their best friend, or the former antagonist had to work with the good guys–people they were just trying to kill a few chapters previous?

What kind of crazy, unusual shit would a writer have to come up with then, when “the good part” had to set the tone for their entire story?

Looking at stories from that angle doesn’t always yield awesome, unique results.

But I feel like it’s always worth the look.