Something only my earliest critique partners know is that the first draft of Give Up the Ghost started with Cass preparing to go to prom while talking with Paige — an extended version of the scene that now appears in the last chapter of the book, ending with her reminiscing about how she came to be planning to go to prom at all, and looping back to what is now the beginning of the book.
The technique of starting with an intriguing or tense scene from the end of the story before going back to show how it all began is a well-loved one. Heck, Twilight does it. But it didn’t end up feeling right for GHOST. The risk with giving away part of the ending is you leave the reader knowing something that’s coming, so that part of the ending can no longer be a surprise. Basically, the suspense created by wondering how the character will get there has to be greater than the suspense lost by knowing where they’re going.
Now I have a new idea that might start at the end. I love the idea of using this particular scene as the opening. But I’m also wondering if it’s definitely worth the risk.
So I’m curious to hear: How do you feel about books that start with a glimpse of the end? What makes that work or not work for you? Any favorite examples?