Admit it. You’ve done this: someone starts to tell you a joke, and you stop them by either saying, “I’ve heard that one already” or *gasp* telling them the punchline before they can get to it. After all, if you’ve already heard the joke, why waste the time in letting them tell it? Right?
Maybe you are the person telling the joke. How do you feel when someone cuts you off before you can get to the end? If you are like me, it’s not the most pleasant of experiences.
It may not even be a joke—it could possibly be a story, or you could be telling about an experience you had. Personally, I get a little frustrated when someone jumps to the end, or at least what they think will be the end.
I’ve thought about why I get frustrated in situations like that. And then it occurred to me: there is joy in the act of telling the story—at least to storytellers.
My first book, The Hidden Sun, has an ending which many reviewers have stated as being predictable. I’ll admit it, it is. It has a happy ending. The good guys win. The bad guys lose. Predictable, right? Well, not really. You see, I knew the other option of having the bad guys win would not go over well. I needed to do something else.
What was my solution? Yes, the good guys win, but it is how they do it which makes the story interesting. (The reviewers who call the ending predictable also state they did enjoy the twists and turns which led to the happy ending.)
When writing a book, the most enjoyable time for me is during the primary draft—when the story is first being told. Often, the story takes unexpected twists that I, as the author, didn’t see coming. It’s pretty cool when that happens. In fact, it is probably the single biggest reason I continue to write—because I enjoy telling the story.
Granted, it’s also pretty cool when someone reads the story and enjoys it.
Next time someone starts to tell a joke or a story you think you’ve heard, let them finish. You may be delightfully surprised—not at the ending, but rather how happy the storyteller looks at the end.