Today, (due to some comments in last week’s posts) we’re going to tackle a highly confusing subject for many writers—In medias res. In medias res quite literally means in the middle of things. This is a literary tactic that has been used since the days of Odysseus. It’s a tactic that forces the writer forward, to begin the story near the heart of the problem.
The Trouble with In Medias Res
Ah, but this is where we writers can get in trouble. I see writers beginning their novels with high-action gun battles, blowing up buildings, a heart-wrenching, gut-twisting scene in a hospital or at a funeral, all in an effort to “hook the reader” by “starting in the middle of the action.” Then when they get dinged/rejected by an agent or editor, they’re confused.
But I started right in the action! What is more “in the action” than a…
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