…And They Lived Happily Ever After – Starting with the Ending

 

Sometimes when writing a story, the easiest place to start is at the end.  This may seem strange to do, but really we can tell a lot about a story from its ending.  For instance, the original meanings of the terms “comedy” and “drama” comes from ancient Greek plays.  Very simply, a classical comedy is a story with a happy end.  A classical drama is then a sad ending.  So if a story ends with something happy, then it’s a comedy and vice versa.  We don’t need to see anything else about the play to understand which is which.  Just by the ending, we know exactly what kind of story it will be.

Even more information can be obtained by looking at even the simplest and cliched of endings:  “And they lived happily ever after.”  As mentioned above, we can see the word “happy” and determine that this would be a classical comedy, with the ending being positive.  However, let’s look at a few more words in that statement.  First off, the subject of this phrase is “they”.  If we know this, we can infer that there is more than one main character to this story.  So without knowing who this story is about, we now know this isn’t Castaway, Aviator, or some other film where the emphasis is put on only one character.  So while we don’t know how many there are, we know this story has at least two main characters.  If we know the history of this phrase, we may be able to assume that this is a romance of some sorts, and so the characters involved are two lovers.  Although, this may assume too much and as cliched as this phrase is, there’s also the overstated phrase about people who assume.

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