“Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarbleton twins were.” In Margaret Mitchell’s famous ” GONE WITH THE WIND”, the reader is enticed by this opening ; perhaps not sold quite yet, but interested enough to move on. Then,a little further along in the chapter, the reader learns along with Scarlett that her one true love, Ashley Wilkes becomes engaged to Melanie Hamilton. “Scarlett’s face did not change but her lips went white-like a person who has received a stunning blow without warning and who, in the first moments of shock, does not realize what has happened.” Now, the reader can not help but be compelled to read further to find out how this enchanting person, who causes heads to turn, is so disturbed by this news.
The story did not start with an earthquake or a murder, yet it pulled in the readers by it’s mystery and disturbance. The reader did not have to sit through a tedious recount of Scarlett’s entire childhood and daily thoughts to get caught up in the “interruption to normal life”, a disturbance in her every day world that moves the audience to find out what will happen. It is what Alfred Hitchcock once said;
“A good story is life with the dull parts take out.”
It is the duty of the writer to guide the reader away from the mundane; a life of regular things that happen to everyone everyday, to take her on a journey someplace that will excite her, to remove her from the dull parts of the everyday real life. Like a great chef who knows the magic of preserving only the most flavorful ingredients in his masterpiece dish, we writers must know how to leave the “dull parts out”, saving the best, most flavorful ingredients for our audience to devour. Like life, the masterpiece is the result of it’s creators’ ability to make it the best it can be, minus the boring parts we do not need.