Her hazel eyes sparkle as she lets out a knowing hum. She's pretty sure she can guess the reveal. And her lips are smiling.
We enjoy stories that let us participate in guessing the outcome. The technical term is foreshadowing. The best storytellers--and comedians--bring us something new wrapped in the familiar and expected. When the punchline or twist arrives, we smile and nod because we know exactly what's going on.
Unlike my mother and wife, I don't read the end first. But I find that the greatest books and movies and television shows hint at the end anyway. I know what's coming, even if I couldn't tell you in the moment. And I've learned that I don't enjoy surprises. Like a child tapping my other shoulder so I look the wrong way, immature writers just drop things in my lap and tell me to be surprised.
We relish the invitation to presume what's behind the curtain. Even if we're wrong.
The story didn't end as she expected. Her eyes no longer glowed and her mind passively went over the details again. What had she missed? It didn't matter, but her imagination revisited the events to poke around. Even now, after the close, she lingered in the tale.
Have you seen your children light up when they begin to expect what's coming next in a well-written story?
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester