"A story is a linear-temporal phenomenon. It proceeds, and charms us (or doesn’t), a line at a time.
We might think of a story as a system for the transfer of energy. Energy, hopefully, gets made in the early pages and the trick, in the later pages, is to use that energy.
The true beauty of a story is not in its apparent conclusion but in the alteration in the mind of the reader that has occurred along the way."
—George Saunders, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life