Apparently, way back, long ago, Aristotle identified that a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. We’re talking ancient Greece here. Like 300 B.C.-ancient. It seems rather obvious, but then it’s not. Have you ever read a book with a cliff-hanger ending? I don’t like those at all. I’m sticking with Aristotle.
In his TED-talk about storytelling, Julian Friedmann reiterated the importance of a beginning, middle, and end to a story. So many authors have trouble with the middle, he said, that it becomes a muddle. Like C.E. Lombardi stated, in 1909, a certain NY play had a “beginning, a muddle, and an end.”
I’ve been reflecting about this muddle concept while I’m writing my first mystery story. It’s a cozy mystery. Not too gory, a little intrigue and romance, lots of twists. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, watching detective shows on TV, and designing a plot that I hope is not too predictable.
In defense of No Gifts to Bring, this new work in progress, the muddle isn’t a mishmash of random ingredients. It’s also not a disorganized mess. But I do have a few more tangles than I’m used to handling. The trick will be unraveling for a tidy ending.