July 11th, 2006

wood cat

Readercon panel: "The Beginnings of Stories and the Endings They Promise"

Description:

Michael A. Burstein (M), John Clute, Debra Doyle, Geary Gravel, China Miéville, Delia Sherman

There are, perhaps, three kinds of beginnings to stories: those that promise no ending, those that promise an ending which is later delivered, and those that promise a different ending than the one provided. Are these, in fact, three fundamentally different types of stories? What are the different types of promises a beginning can make? The first line of Pride and Prejudice ("It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife") or the last line of the first chapter of The Book of the New Sun ("It was in this fashion that I began the long journey by which I have backed into the throne") make promises about the content of the ending, but many beginnings merely promise the form of the ending ("there will be a twist of some sort").

My first panel of the con, so my hands were fresh and fast, and I had time shortly after to review my notes against my memory.

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[Edit: compare yhlee's panel notes.]