Now say that five times fast….
Is not an opening line that many writers will prefer using.
Is also not an apt opening line so here goes absolutely nothing….
Welcome to my Ted talk…..
Is perhaps the best I can come up with as far as opening lines go.
When it comes to an opening line, writers feel that it should set a tone, it should orient the reader to the setting, it should root the reader into the story and most importantly, it shouldn’t be vague.
Stepping out of stories for a bit, the above “rules” seem to be the same guidelines a lot of us set for actual beginnings.
And that is how starting troubles are born.
As a person who is an expert at ruining beginnings, I will tell you that the start of any activity is daunting. Be it the first day at school(bleh), the first business you ever started, the first day at a new job or even something as small as the first time trying a new drink or food. And when something is daunting, it is unpredictable and hence, I feel that beginnings cannot have guidelines.
In this blog, Imma dive into the world of fiction and dissect some of my favourite fictional beginnings, just to show how unpredictable and fun and daunting and perhaps misleading beginnings can be and why one should not feel like it’s the end of the world if the first cake they ever baked resembled a replica of an erupting Vesuvius.
Although I admit that is a tad bit extra baking soda….
Let’s begin at the beginning.
Number 1: Beginnings can be smooth.
Some beginnings are exactly what the doctor, or perhaps the writer with strict opening rules, ordered. There’s love and happiness and no sign of anything that could go wrong.
The Lion King and Death on the Nile, here’s your cue!
Alright, I know that’s not the opening scene in either movies but it’s the scene that I feel is more apt to begin with so Imma just begin…..
There is no limit to the number of “begins” one can use in a sentence.
Often times, when we see someone have a perfect beginning at a venture, we tend to think that they’ve got the whole thing sorted because they had a firm take-off. However, the beginning is not the most accurate judge of the journey because even the smoothest beginnings are a slippery affair.
In the Lion King, a lot of modern princes might envy Simba, solely because of his peaceful beginning. I mean, most fathers who also happen to be Kings, barely have time to be dads but along comes Simba whose dad not only runs the Pride Lands and fights hyenas, but also has time to take his son on a day tour and give him life lessons and play under the stars with some more life lessons.
But in all the happiness, the whole of Mufasa’s family tends to ignore Scar who is a spoil sport from the very beginning and is dismissed as a weird family member with jealousy that is as common, and green, as grass, before he gets out of hand and things go south.
The Death on the Nile is one of the most interesting Agatha Christie novels involving a lot of adventure but when one reads the beginning, the relation between Jackie Bellefort and Simon Doyle makes one smile and believe in all things happily ever after and Linnet Ridgeway seems to be the BFF that everyone needs.
But BFFs are a clique that I do not trust and the rest of the plot confirmed my beliefs because Linnet Ridgeway was quite a twisted BFF with a more twisted fate.
Starting things off the right way does not mean the battle is won. It definitely is a confidence booster but when things start off in a brilliant manner, we often tend to ignore the hidden evils that have the potential to derail the journey.
So, no matter how good the beginning is, it is important to be mindful, maintain optimism and try not to end up on the wrong side of the cliff or getting murdered on holiday.
Number 2: Beginnings can be Disorienting.
Awright, riddle me this….
What do you do when something(insert event, situation) just begins without warning and hits you like a truck?
-10 if you step up to the situation and brave it like Superman….
+20000…..∞ if you just hang onto the said situation like….
To demonstrate, Imma call upon stage….
Alright, let’s go back all the way to the Philosopher’s Stone….
The first book of the Harry Potter series is an experience of a lifetime. It’s like entering a new world and looking back after that doesn’t feel the same anymore:)
So, while ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ is itself a study in beginnings, I am going to focus on the scene where Hagrid, everyone’s favourite half-giant patootie, crashes into the Dursley’s holiday and changes Harry’s life….
Harry Potter’s life before the magic is basically a picture of woe. I mean, the poor soul has the whole package of misery and when a giant man with a pink umbrella and a pink birthday cake barges through the door, he isn’t exactly prepared for the mic drop when Hagrid says….
I mean, despite all the excitement and questions and the primary shock, Harry’s just like….’I’m a what?’
And then there’s seven books describing the fantastic stuff that the whole announcement led to.
Beginnings that hit one like an unexpected truck show that asking for permission is not on the agenda when it comes to this thing called Life. Some events are inevitable but some events just stride into your life like they own the place and there’s nothing you can do except hang in there, rent free.
A beginning of this sort does give everyone a test for preparedness but it also starts the whole chain reaction off without the procrastination.
So, all I can say is that when life gives you lemons, you first accept the fact that you’ve been handed a lemon. The lemonade can come later.
Number 3: The Bad Beginning
Who has two thumbs and is a professional bad beginner?
Welcome to the world of starting troubles. Here are the beginnings which make you wish you were never born, these are the beginnings where nothing good can ever happen.
These are the beginnings when all land is laid to waste and the reaper is on his way….
These are the bad beginnings….
Knives Out is quite an unconventional murder mystery. It begins with murder, proceeds in lies and toxicity and ends with Chris Evans in a role we’re not quite used to seeing him in. I won’t dissect the plot of the movie here but let’s focus on the beginning….
Murder cannot mean well for anyone but for the right person, it could mean the world. Knives Out shows a whole drama of the murder of a patriarch and the chief suspect is the nurse, who definitely has a shifty behaviour, a proper motive, a weapon at hand and finally, the victim’s trust.
And a thing like murder is always perpetrated by the ones we trust.
A Series of Unfortunate Events is not shy about being completely honest about the misery that it contains. I mean, the book begins with a mysterious fire which kills the protagonists’ family and sends them into the clutches of a greedy goon who has a penchant for accidental fires and fiery accidents….
See what I did there?
A bad beginning is a bummer. It shatters confidence, it brings in depression and it makes you want to give up. But I’m going to say that a bad beginning prepares one for the worst and with a beginning that bad, there’s hope that things can’t be worst.
A bad beginning can also, sometimes, be an indicator of knowing that the journey is not the right one. Not all ventures are made for everybody and sometimes, a bad beginning signals that. In fact, having a bad beginning as an indicator of a wrong decision is much better than having a smooth beginning masking the evils.
As bad as bad beginnings could be, they are necessary as they do make us strong, help us persevere and also tell us when the decision made has been a wrong one.
So, bad beginnings aren’t always as evil as we make them to be. They are just misunderstood….
Number 4: Beginnings are Endings.
Or Endings are beginnings….
The Count of Monte Cristo is my favourite book and the reason I like it so much is that every event is the start of something new and even the ending of the book is a signal to a new beginning. But the scene that I’m going to talk about in the book is when the protagonist, Edmond Dantes, escapes from prison.
Escaping from prison is simultaneously a beginning and an end. It is the end of servitude, it is the end of suffering and it is the beginning of a new life. But in ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’, Edmond Dantes’ life had been ruined before he went to prison and he was stepping into a world where he had no friends and he was at rock bottom. But what makes his new beginning profound is that he used that rock bottom as his foundation and thrived. And that is a boss move to turn endings into new and better beginnings:)
‘The Gladiator’ is another roller coaster of old doors closing and new doors opening and there’s a profound ending right when the movie begins, with Marcus Aurelius dropping off into the land of the dead and Maximus, the protagonist, being exiled and tortured and turned into a gladiator.
But that is actually where the movie begins. Maximus becomes a hero, much to the emperor, Commodus’ disdain and it is a beginning of the dream that Marcus Aurelius had, of making Rome a republic, no matter how fictionalised the movie is, hehe….
Often, when we come to the end of something, we feel that it’s all over but most of the times, the ending is only a beginning and as cliched as this might be, beginnings dawning from the ashes of old endings are my favourite.
It’s the kind of beginning that I call a ‘Phoenix Beginning’
And that is the end.
Or is it just the beginning of another rambling?
Stay tuned to find out!
And that is a wrap.
Until next time:)