I’m referring to story lines that start in the middle, then go back and explain everything leading up to that point, then continue to the end of the story.
While I can appreciate plot lines that break out of the conventional chronological timeline, I find that I become disinterested. The suspense is missing when I know what will happen, even if the writer has done a good job and tricked me. I’m disconnected from the character or story because I think I know what happens, whether or not I’m right.
There’s only one that I thought did it well, Tangled. Looking back, that’s because it was pretty much a one-liner that simply gave away that Flynn dies. By the end, I had forgotten, so in some ways it doesn’t count. I had the same problem watching Revenge, even though the character you are lead to believe dies is still alive at the end of the season, I never connected with him because of his impending doom.
Right now, I’m reading a James Patterson novel that uses this middle, beginning, end plot line. Even though the story is wonderful, there’s no suspense through the first 40+ chapters. I’m not invested in the court case because I know the verdict within the first chapter. It’s interesting, and I enjoyed the little twists, but it wasn’t as interesting as if it had started in the beginning, leaving me to wonder if they would take the plea bargain or if they would be found guilty.
What about you? Love ’em or hate ’em?