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Monday, January 23, 2012

Beginning with the End


Do you watch Once Upon a Time on ABC? If you don’t you should. It—is—AWESOME!

 As I watched it last night with my hubby, I started to wonder…Do you like stories where you know the ending from the very beginning?

The pilot episode of Once Upon a Time starts with Snow White and Prince Charming getting married and the Evil Witch cursing everyone. It’s dramatic and exciting. So far so good—right? But then every other episode is a flashback showing some snippet of the story before the curse.

I love the show (I really do), but I will say that some of the mystery is lessened. I don’t worry that they might not get together because I know they will. The mystery then takes on a new dynamic. How do we get from point A to point B?

This is nothing new. Most romances are structured this way. We know they will get together. The drama is in HOW?

I’m so curious and I want your feedback. Do you like this kind of storytelling? Or do you prefer to be completely in the dark?

-Angie

27 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

My daughter and I started watching this. We now don't have the station, but in sure we will pick back up on it sometime. I know what you mean. You know the beginning, but there are so many questions that they present you want to find out about. It is a bit disappointing.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Ahhh, yup this kind of bothers me. I like the idea of such a dramatic beginning, but then the fun of the journey is a bit lessened for me. I don't think I do like to watch/read backwards to be honest. Good post!

Tara Tyler said...

i loved the show at first, but it has lost the grip on me... guess that tells you my opinion on that =)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I don't watch the show but I don't mind the idea of knowing the ending first sometimes. It really does depend on the story itself, how well it's written, etc. I've found that even if you know the ending, you don't usually know all the twists and turns it takes to get there, so that becomes more of the point of the story.

Kelley said...

I don't like to know the ending, though I have heard wonderful things about this show.

I just don't have time to add in more shows...haha

Cassie Mae said...

I don't like to know anything. I want to find out WHY during the journey. I can think of several books when I came to the jaw dropper I had to reread to make sure my mind wasn't messin' with me. I LOVE that feeling!

ilima said...

People who flip to the back of the book to find out the ending first are truly sick. :) Don't tell me anything that's going to happen. I DON'T WANT TO KNOW! :)

Meredith said...

It has to be very well done if I know the ending beforehand. And I have to be very invested in the characters. I need to catch up on Once Upon a Time--such a cute show!

Melanie Fowler said...

I need a bread crumb trail until the climax, and then I can have the warm, delicious, steaming, fluffly, light, bread.

I like to know a little, but I like being surprised.

Leigh Covington said...

I like suspense. It's kind of hard to take away the mystery, however - in romance, it's hard to do. The HOW is what makes the mystery and I love it when an author keeps me wondering how in the world he/she is going to pull it off.

Melissa Sarno said...

I'm really iintrigued by this kind of story-telling. Personally, I can't write like that because I know nothing from the minute I start writing until I write the last word (though I guess I could go back in the edit and plant the end in the beginning.) But suspense is a powerful thing and if you can still build it by giving away the ending, I say go for it.

Emily R. King said...

I watched Cowboys and Aliens last night. If you've seen it, you know there's this dog that is throughout the movie. At one point the dog faces an alien and presumably dies. But you know the movie writer's wouldn't kill the dog. They kill the Preacher, but not the dog. So when the dog shows up later in the movie it's not a huge relief or surprise. I think good story-telling is the key, regardless of what order it is told!

Jolene Perry said...

I love it when you start at the most crucial juncture, and now I'm going to use a cartoon as an example.

In Megamind we START with him plunging to his death, and the closer to that point in the story we get, the more unwinnable his circumstances seem to be.

So. I love that.

And yes - in most love stories, you're sure they'll end up together, but the journey is still fun. If I've seen the end . . . it takes away from the rest of it.

I wonder if they'll end up surprising everyone anyway . . .

Brinda said...

I like to be in the dark and guessing until the very LAST second.

Ruth Josse said...

I don't mind as long as it's done well and there is still some mystery and plenty of tension. I don't care how a story is told as long as it captures my attention.

I love Once Upon a Time! The wicked queen is seriously wicked.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

This is a great question. I can go both ways. I seldom read back covers. I don't even read reviews (unless I question whether the content is clean). But if the story starts with the end...it can work. But can you imagine if they did that with Hunger Games? Blah!

Jenny S. Morris said...

My hubby and I love this show. I think they showed the end because everyone already knows that Snow White ends up with Prince Charming. But this story isn't just in fairy tale land. It's in the real world and that's the twist. Will they be able to find each other again, even when they don't remember that they fell in love in the first place.

That aside, I LOVE figuring things out. So I don't always like finding out the end.

David P. King said...

I don't mind this every now and then, and it works better for TV and movies. Contrary to popular belief, I love prologues, the kind that introduce you to the world before you get into the main character. Harry Potter One does this, even though Chapter One reads very much like a prologue. :)

A.J. Mullarky said...

Actually I really like it this way round. Then again, it's good to work it out as you go along... as long as it's written well, does it matter?

Melissa Sugar said...

I like both. It all depends on how they story is told. If I know up front then I need more suspense from somewhere , but if you really think about it we sort of know what will happen even in the stories that don't let us know up front. We want a happy ending and we want the couple we are rooting for to finally get together and authors pretty much deliver it to us (of course not every story). Knowing just places more emphasis on the how and the what that keeps them a part until the end.

RachelMaryBean said...

I don't like to know too much ahead of time. But if you think about it, those two getting together in Fairy Tale World is really the middle of the story for this show. Whether or not they break the curse in our world is the end.
Oh, and I so want to know what Rumplestilzskin is up to! ;)

Donna K. Weaver said...

My daughter loves this show. I don't watch much TV, so I've only seen snippets. And the show where that psycho lady had to kill her father (the thing she loved most) to get what she wanted turned my hubby off right away. He always manages to come into shows in the worst possible place. lol

Aldrea Alien said...

Most of my reading is seeing how they got there seeing that I'm one of those people who flick to the back of a book when there's a lull in the story to see what happens (or if I’m right on who did it). Sometimes I end up reading various end scenes several times within the first reading of a book.
It's a horrible habit, I know. But I like to know. Guess that's why I'm not a fan of mystery books.

With tv, the media in which I like my cosy mysteries, and movies I'm forced to watch in order. I insist on seeing every part, from the beginning to the end. Then, if I liked it, I'll watch it sometime again. By then, I know what happens to the characters, so when they make a bad decision, I'm sitting in the couch thinking 'whoops, shouldn't have done that'. ^_^

Trisha said...

In some ways I guess it can work, but when it's a romance story I prefer to see things unfold in order, instead of seeing the 'get together' scene first. Even though in this case it seems their happy day is under threat ;)

Jess Stork said...

That's such an interesting thought. I love Once Upon A Time too, but I had always just thought of it as character backstory, rather than the arch of the narrative. I do like it thought, because the way it's structured, it gives you more ideas into the motivations of each character. Like the Rumpelstilskin episode that gave background on how he became a monster. Interesting.

Angela Brown said...

Until Once Upon a Time makes it to Netflix, I'll have to wait.

That being said, I have to admit that knowing the end before it begins makes the tension, well, limited. You know what's going to happen, unless the end really wasn't the end and something else happens. Sounds more like a time warp mishap, actually. I don't mind it on a episodic basis. Like some episodes of Eureka would begin with the end but the plot line of the show wasn't hinged upon that one episode's flashback layout.

Gwen said...

You know, I started watching it and about four episodes in stopped. It just no longer held my attention.

As for the whole knowing the ending thing, it's not for me. I was more interested in Emma's storyline, and finding connections between the two worlds. Not that there was enough to keep me interested. I've read stories before where the ending is told essentially up front, and thus the book focuses on other things like character, but I don't think Once Upon a Time was very good at that.

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