Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Beginning or end?

I am working my way though my woefully neglected Google Reader (1000+)(and it took a LoooooNG time to get below that 1K, too!), and I just passed a post at Dear Author that had a poll: Do you like the beginning or the end of the book the best?

Now, I'll admit, I didn't stop to read the post. The first thing that popped into my head was:

I like the middle the best.

My favorite part of just about any book I've ever read is the middle section, when you're knee deep in the action, you know the characters well enough to care about them, and there's a lot of story left to go. I usually have to struggle a bit at the beginning, getting a sense of place and who the story is about; and towards the end, I'm racing through to find out what happens, but also painfully aware that my time with these characters is coming to an end and there will be no more.

The middle is the happy place where we're all good friends with nothing but time on our hands. The middle is often the place where you will get lots of details and the wonderful little everyday, slice of life scenes. You get a lot of the comic relief scenes there too, when you need a pause between the intro of the PLOT, and the climax when everything comes to a head. (This is why I like series so much - you get WHOLE BOOKS worth of "middle")

What about you? What's your favorite part of a book?


Obsidian Bookshelf said...

I see what you mean about the middle. Comic relief is always good, plus you often get the sex scenes in the middle, too, and sex and comedy are always worthwhile. I have to admit that I'm intrigued by beginnings because they're so hard to do. I always like to see how a writer chooses to construct them.

Elle Parker said...

You know...I didn't even think of it from a writer's standpoint. I totally had my reader hat on.

I think even as a writer, I'd have to give the same answer. The middle is where the meat of the story is.


wren said...

Hi Elle - I have your blog on my Google Reader and fortunately I don't usually let it accumulate to the four digits!

I'd have to agree with you on liking the middle the best (and you are so right about series books, too!).

Usually, the beginning is a bit of a challenge because you are getting to know things. And much of the time the end is sweet sorrow (well, assuming one hasn't thrown the book against the wall, literally or figuratively).

I think that's why I'm not particularly fond of short stories or novellas or such. I've just gotten into it and look, there's the end!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm all about the beginnings, because that's what will grab me or turn me off. And if a book is really, really good, I hate seeing the ending come closer and closer.