I am in the midst of Jodi Picoult's book 19 Minutes. This novel is about a school shooting, and I assumed that the shooting was going to be the climax, the most emotional and exciting moment in the story. But of course, Picoult surprised me. The shooting takes place in the beginning of the book, and the teenagers earlier years (described via flashbacks) along with the aftermath, is what (I guess; I am only into the first 60 or so pages) will make up the rest of the story.
So many students think you have to begin with the beginning. However, sharing stories that begin with the end, or the middle, and flashback, can be quite powerful.
When students have a hard time comprehending this strategy, have them literally cut apart their story, and direct them to rearrange the parts, like a puzzle. When writers begin at the end---keeping the reader off-balance and a bit unsure of exactly what is going on---it can effectively engage the reader.
I am off now to be part of the CUR (Canine Underground Railroad). The dog rescue group I work with (Love a Golden) is transporting a senior Golden Retriever to an adoptive home in Colorado. This place is "heaven" for dogs...Lakes...Fields...Mountains...We are driving halfway to get Monte to his forever home; his family is meeting us in Kansas. May you have as great of a day as a dog in a loving home. Savor every mouthful you eat. Tell others when you want love and attention. And snuggle up for an occasional nap...