Today is a pretty big day in my house. My daughter is graduating elementary school and as of tomorrow, my son will be entering his senior year of high school. I've been a part of this elementary school for the past twelve years, and as of this afternoon, that chapter of my life and my daughter's life will come to a close. It's definitely the end of something, but also the beginning of something new and uncharted, filled with potential surprises.
These moments of firsts and lasts are what help define and shape us, and these are also the moments that suck us in the most when we are reading a great story. Everyone universally experiences this regardless of race, finances, geographic location, etc. It's part of the human experience, and the emotions that these firsts and lasts elicit from us are what drive us forward or stop us cold in our tracks and keep us paralyzed until we find the resolve to move forward as we know we must.
There is no greater source of plot to draw from than this little nugget, because in every first and last comes replete with its own story. And we can write these stories with authenticity and honesty because we remember how they felt. Who can't remember the first time you liked someone and they liked you back? Or your first kiss? Or when someone died that you loved? Or you had to say goodbye to a friend who moved away? Or started a new school and didn't know a soul? Or gave birth to your first child? The list goes on. But no matter what the first or last, guaranteed it stirs something in the pit of your stomach or creates a heaviness in your heart or makes you wish you could turn back time. THIS is what you want to infuse your stories with. THIS is what draws your reader in and not want to let go.
Some may be wonderful and some may be painful, but cherish every first and last because both are fleeting. This is the fabric of life, and the true heart of any great story.