This is how is starts. This is how it begins. A story begins at the start and then once the start recognizes what it’s done, then it’s the middle. The middle wanders around a bit until it gets bored and then the end comes along. The end usually shows up right about at the right time, which is always the wrong time when the story is good. When the story is bad, well, the end is like a smothering pillow and we all look away as business is taken care of.
Sometimes there are characters and they really screw up the middle and the end. The characters are either people or they are not or they are both. Characters tend to change during the story, so try not to fall in love with them. If you are disappointed in how a character turns out, you can go back and read the story, but stop before they change.
The thing the characters always seem to muck about with is the plot. While the middle of the story wanders around, it is usually holding hands with the plot. The middle and the plot are happy just passing the time, but characters usually end up kicking the plot and the plot drags the middle around or vice versa and then the pillow comes in and smothers them both.
But before you can start, you have to know when to start. And even that gets confusing when the start isn’t really the beginning and later in the story they go back before the start and the start starts to get a complex. The start is now the middle and the middle is all over the place. The plot’s arm is sore and the characters start to doubt that this was ever a good idea and the pillow looms above. But luckily, many stories play it straight and their "when" is somewhere reasonable like the 1800s or the 80s or now or in the near future or future future.
Don’t get me started on where stories take place. All stories take place by a lake. Lakes are nice and provide everything a story needs. Any story that doesn’t take place near a lake isn’t a story and is not long for the pillow.
Fortunately, I’m not a writer and I don’t get caught up in all of this. I'm just the guy with the pillow.