There’s something incredibly poignant about this prompt. It’s whimsical and it provokes imagination, a kind of ‘what if’ though goes off in my mind. What if I could continue to write a book that somebody else had started? What if the writer thought the book was finished? Can I continue the story in my own way, taking the narrative on a new path? It evokes a real question about whether a story is ever really finished.
The story we live, in our everyday lives, never ends. Some parts of our own personal narrative are more interesting than others, some parts we tell our friends about or blog about or tweet about, but the mundane and everyday continues to continue until we’re here no more. But even after that in ways, our stories continue, through our family, friends, our achievements and the impact that we’ve had on others. I’m reaching a pretty morbid place here, I know, but it has to make you wonder whether a book or a film, or some inception of storytelling, actually tells the narrative from start to finish, or does it just pick up at one point and finish at another. Can there really be a beginning, middle or an end to any narrative we create? Fiction or non-fiction, the stories we tell and we experience always have space.
I use the term space to describe the narrative before the film or book kicks off and after it ends, it’s the area that isn’t explicitly there, but you could easily fill it with something of your own imagination. You could easily write narrative about the life of the character before the book started, and you could continue the narrative after the book ends, even if all of their angst and issues are resolved. Of course it might not be very interesting, and bringing in new issues to their lives might get slightly boring and repetitive (i.e. the majority of crap movie sequels ever made), but there’s still an opportunity there to fill the space on either side of the story. The Star Wars movie franchise is a clear example of filling the space, with films one to three running in sequence, and film four, five and six running in sequence, however if you were to sit down and watch all six movies in a row, for the films to be sequential by time you’d start at four, then watch five and six before going back to one. Star Wars filled the space in front of the first film, and I’m sure there would be potential to fill the space after number three.
The book may finish, but the story most definitely does not have to.