Jerry-Myers_12_26Have you ever read a book or article and when you were finished reading, you find yourself saying to yourself, that is not what I expected.  This is not uncommon and why would that be?

The lead in line or first sections of a chapter of a story may set up the reader for some expectations they the readers are expecting the story to reveal.  This brings up the fact that a story’s lead in is designed to grab the reader’s attention.

There are different leads.  The most common is the news story lead line.  In a single paragraph you should find the Who, What, Where, and When.  The body of the story tells the How, and sometimes includes the Why.  The Why is usually left hanging due to the timeliness of a particular article.

In the case of a factually based story such as a biography, or autobiography the reader will most often find the lead paragraphs setup the When, Where, and person.  The Why, and How is the story of the Who and usually written in third person so that the writer can jump back and forth in the timeline to establish motive for the Why, and How.  Why, and how, the motivations and actions and reactions form the history of and event, and involvement of the person, in those events of history.  The key to an interesting read with this type of Bio-story is generating interest in the main character’s motivations for the How and Why.

Fiction stories on the other hand tend to lead the reader on an adventure or quest.  Setting the stage up for the story usually comes first, and introduction to the main character is a major part of setting the stage.  The story is told in acts, or chapters.  The reader expects at this point that the plot will unroll or peal open like an onion, but I would rather think it is like life the what and why of the plot is explanted by the main characters as they encounter others in the prosecution of the story being told.

The bottom-line is that the writer of each of these types of writing act as a guide to the reader, and not write as if they the writer is laying out a puzzle where all the puzzle pieces do not fit together at the end of the story.  If the work is well done then the reader will not be saying to themselves: Not what I expected.

JL Myers is a retired Mesquite resident with several published books. His column, Art of Writing, appears weekly on You can contact Myers through his online column posted on Fridays or by emailing