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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

LEAP TO THE END

Today’s post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. This month, our theme is “leap.” Please visit my friends’ blogs by clicking on the links in the right-hand column.

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Are you one of those folks who jump to the end of the book? Read the last chapter first? Try to take all the fun out of the journey?

Tsk. Tsk.

Books—fiction books at least—are meant to be read from the front cover to the back. In that order. The writer, after all, has spent many sweat-filled years, creating a story that leads you from scene to scene, character to character, plot twist to plot twist to give you the satisfying ending he designed.

So to you book jumpers, I say again, “tsk, tsk.”

But that’s for fiction.

You can sometimes get away with chapter jumping when reading non-fiction books. Non-fiction. That’s the real life stuff. The books filled with facts and history and truth.

Sometimes the author intends to lead you chapter-by-chapter to one ultimate truthful conclusion.

But sometimes each chapter can stand by itself.

Chapter 1: here’s something you need to know.
Chapter 27: If you want this, then…
Chapter 42: Here are 39 ways to…
Chapter 3: Don’t forget to…

With those books, each truth—each chapter—can stand alone. And each can stand as part of the whole.

Go ahead and jump to the end of those books. No tsk-ing required.

So it is with the Bible.

The Bible is our eternal non-fiction reference guide. Yet, it is written by the Master Author—with scenes in history, character development, plot twists and the ultimate ending that explains everything that came before the final chapter. And everything that comes after it.

Chapter 1: Here’s something you need to know. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Chapter 17: If you want this, then…follow Jesus.

Chapter 42: Here are 39 ways to…live like Jesus.

Chapter 3: Don’t forget to…obey God.

Conclusion, final chapter, Book of Revelation: God wins. So do we.

Go ahead and jump to the end of the book. In fact, LEAP to the end. It’s all good. It’s all very good. That’s why it’s called “The Good Book.”

Today—Ash Wednesday—begins the season of Lent. Lent is the 40 days prior to Easter, when Christ was resurrected. It is a time for reflection and penitence. And thanksgiving for God’s gift of salvation. Go ahead and leap for joy!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the greatest book ever written. Thank you for writing it in such a way that it can lead us through life, step-by-step to a final conclusion. Or it can be read book-by-book as a daily reference guide. Reveal your truth to us each time we open it. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? When you read fiction, do I need to tsk-tsk you?

30 comments:

Tracy Krauss said...

This post was lots of fun but was very truthful, too. (FYI - I am a leap to the end reader of fiction ... I know, I know - tsk, tsk! I just can't help it!)

From Carols Quill said...

@ Tracy - a leaper, eh? Perhaps you--as a writer--are leaping so you can study and analyze how the writer got there?

Nona King said...

I loved this post, Carol! It gave me shivers with all the truth embroiled in the words. Interesting how such a succinctly wonderful post can affect a person in such a way, eh? ^_^

From Carols Quill said...

@ Nona - Thanks for the shiver of encouragement! So glad to hear it made sense.

Victor Travison said...

What works for non-fiction would not work for fiction. You have to take the chapters in order to make sense of the story. But you are basically right.

On a side note, I'm having a problem with pinning down an exact post on Blogspot blogs. Usually I can click the title and get a full URL for it, but here it only takes me to the home page. I like to point to the exact post when I do my own Update list. On Blogspot I can't. Just FYI.

~ VT

From Carols Quill said...

@ VT - yep, that's what I said. You can't read fiction by jumping around. Glad you agree. Sorry you're having URL trouble with Blogspot. I wish I was techie enough to help.

Sheila Hollinghead said...

Carol,
You may have seen Readers' Realm mentioned. I'm involved in it along with four or five other folks you probably know. We'll go live on March 1st. The website's main goal is to support authors as they launch their books. More information on that will be forthcoming.

In conjunction with this, we are looking for guests to blog. Specifically, we're looking for author interviews, book reviews, writing tips, and, once a week, we'd like to highlight a guest blogger who may choose any topic as long as it relates to writing. It can be use of social media, promoting books, what makes a good book, etc. (Something along the lines of this post would be good!)

If you would like to participate, please shoot me an email at readersrealm@yahoo.com.

Hope you can participate!

chris said...

I am jumping for joy now... and don't want to jump to the end of any book!

btw, I don't read very much fiction... alas, THAT'S why I'm so strange :-)

This is funny Carol, I love this post!!

Christine Henderson said...

I especially like the Bible's ending...and those who believe lived happily ever after!

Bill Jones said...

Very enjoyable post Carol - thanks. I like the Bible's perfect ending too!

From Carols Quill said...

@ Sheila - thanks; I'll contact you.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Chris; Christine & Bill - thanks folks. Agree--the Bible has the best ending ever.

Mike said...

Awesome Post! This is a great reminder of the importance of looking towards our final goal. Way to go.

Deborah K. Anderson said...

No tsk-tsk for me, sister. I never leap to the end in fiction. It would ruin the story! ;-)

Great analogy, great post.

Terrie said...

Surprisingly refreshing! What a wonderful take on "leap" I can't help my OCD, I have to read page by page, fiction or non-fiction. If I am going to take the time to read a book, I want to "savor" the entire work.
Peace always sweet sister!

by Pegg Thomas said...

I *never* leap to the end! I don't peek at Christmas presents either. I want the ending to have its full impact at the right moment.

I would say, that many fiction works also contain history, facts, and truth as well as non-fiction... but then... historical fiction is probably my favorite genre. :)

From Carols Quill said...

@ Mike - Thank you. Yes, God's sharing our final goal with us is awesome!

From Carols Quill said...

@ Debra, Terrie & Pegg - yeah, sisters! Savor the reading!

Pegg - I love historical fiction, too.

Traci B said...

Terrific post, Carol. A lot of truth mixed in with the tsk tsking. ;)

I'm often a leaper in reading; sometimes, getting a quick glimpse near the end will help me push through a section I'm finding too slow or difficult for my tastes. I'm careful not to read the whole ending, just a sentence or paragraph near the end to pique my interest and keep me going. If the ending is unexpected, that quick glance motivates me to find out how the story got there from where I am. I don't do it as often as I used to, but I still sneak a peak once in a while.

E. G. Lewis said...

Nonfiction, I may jump around to see where the author's going. When it comes to fiction though, I go page by page. Like you said, being an author myself, I know how hard I've worked to plant mysteries and surprises. Jumping ahead would be like opening Christmas presents on the 23rd. Tsk...Tsk.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Traci - interesting. Well, okay then. If you're just poking around, I won't tsk you! Thank you for the thoughts.

From Carols Quill said...

@ E.G. LOL about Christmas presents. You're right!

Debra Ann Elliott said...

Wonderful post! Yes, I am a skip to the end reader...tsk tsk

From Carols Quill said...

@ Debra - thank you for "tsk-ing" yourself on our behalf!

Cindee Snider Re said...

Carol, what a great, creative take on "Leap"! Love it! I must confess to being a bit of a fiction leaper. Sometimes I just need to know what happens so I can relax and enjoy the rest of the story. I know, pathetic, huh? I used to think I wanted to know what came next in life too, but I've grown to understand that it's a gift to know only this moment, because sometimes it's all the reality I can handle. God is so wise! :)

P. Creeden said...

With fiction I never leap...I don't even read blurbs because I hate spoilers. I want to be surprised.

With the Bible, however, I'm a leaper - I have 5 bookmarks in my Bible and read a chapter from each section. It's amazing how God relates scriptures to each other I'd never would have thought related that way!

Great post as always Carol!

From Carols Quill said...

@ Cindee - I understand wanting to know an ending so that--as a writer--I can appreciate the mastery as the author takes me there. Still...tsk, tsk, my friend!

From Carols Quill said...

@ Pauline - love the idea of 5 bookmarks for your Bible! I have dozens of ruffled post-it notes flapping out the side and top of my Bible!

Adam Collings said...

Great post Carol.
I never read ahead to the end of a story. In fact, when on the last page of a chapter, I will sometimes hold my hand over the last sentence so that my eyes don't accidentally fall onto the big cliffhanger moment before I read the preceeding paragraphs.

It is encouraging to know how the Bible ends, and that we can go straight there and see for ourselves.

From Carols Quill said...

LOL Adam! I love that you cover the last sentence! You win the prize for "most desiring the surprise ending."