Starting a story in the middle of an action is a great way to create suspense and to keep the readers guessing on what is coming next. Of course, the suspense cannot be suspended forever but the trick is to control the pace at which the scene is played out. Beginning right in the thick of the action may be interpreted as creating adrenaline-pumped action and excitement.
However, this is not always the case.
Starting a scene with a meaningful conversation is equally impactful, as the story below will attest to.
Subtlety has its impact.
“You will have to believe me. Jane is special.”
“Oh yeah? In what way? ”
“She has seen much of life and she’s bubbly.”
“I figure you would want to be her friend.”
“You mean she wants to be my friend.”
“Whatever. So, do you want to meet up with her along with the rest of us? We are all going to attend Frank’s party this Saturday. She will be there.”
“Let me think about it.”
“You won’t regret this.”
My conversation with Steve has always been direct and well, blunt – at times. But Steve always takes it well, which probably explains why we have always been the best of friends throughout all these years. Great friendships always survive taunts and teases. And thanks to this conversation, I got to know Jane, a very special friend who changed my life – for the better, of course. I am grateful to Steve as well, for without him, Jane and I would never have met.
Jane didn’t give me a great impression when I was first introduced to her in person at Frank’s birthday bash though. “Bespectacled”,” girl-next-door” and “friendly”. That’s the three words that I would describe her. The only three words. Yes, she was bubbly. And not in a talkative kind of way, which kind of impressed me. But seen much of life? I doubt it then.
Nevertheless, her maturity began to shine through when we engaged in conversations. You know, some people have said that inner beauty is usually felt but not seen? I have discovered this statement to be a fact on the day I met Jane. She surely knew how to engage someone in a conversation. I was never tired of her narration on her adventures in Nepal, or her misadventures in India, or her escapades in Phuket. Her magic was in having others listen to her, and occasionally enquiring about them and their interests. She balanced the art of speaking and listening very well, and it has really been some time since I have felt that I have found a soul mate.
Pessimism has always been my constant companion for most of my life and I never seem to be able to shake it off. But Jane came into my life and showed me that it is possible to imbue our lives with optimism and hope. Besides inspiring me, she has also taught me how to put a smile on other people’s face – by putting one on our faces first. Much can be said about her personality but the last conversation we had before we part ways after the party was the most memorable – and which I remember till this day.
“You are a great friend.” I told Jane.
“What makes you say that?” she asked.
“I can tell.”
“How do you do that?”
“No, not do. Feel with your heart. That’s how you know someone better.”
“You are a great friend too.”
“How do you know?”
“Well, that’s for you to find out.”
This suspense that she has created for me has sustained our friendship for years. Although I have never managed to understand Jane completely till today, my attempts to do so has enabled me to learn social skills which I would never have learnt if not for Jane.
She has made me see life in a new light – only when we try to understand others can we truly communicate well with them.
And for this lesson from Jane, I am truly grateful.