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En media res

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Jan. 8, 2021

You’ve got your amazing idea down for a story but how do you begin? You want to make your first chapter amazing! En medias res means opening in the midst of the plot. This way, exposition is bypassed, allowing you to fill it in more gradually, either through dialogue, flashbacks or descriptions of past events.

It doesn’t have to be an intense action sequence, rather the main character should be heading somewhere to do something. We are dropping in on them just as the action is about to begin so think of where they might be going and how it is getting them to the problem they will encounter later in the chapter.

If your beginning is dragging, then try starting right in the middle of some action. Maybe your protag gets punched in the face! Maybe there’s a major break up or they get fired! Introducing the reader to action draws them in and gets them hooked!

Maybe the main character is rushing cause they are going to miss the bus to school. Or they could be walking towards a meeting ready to square it off with the boss over a tough decision. Show a snippet of their daily life to help the audience relate to their lives before swiftly moving the plot forward. It is important not to linger on this too much.

Once you’ve shown a snippet of the character’s daily life introduce the major problem that will kickstart the events to come. This will keep readers wanting to know, “what is happening next?”. Does the character miss the bus only to see it swerve, fall off an embankment only to be saved by a powerful yet scary psychic who then notices them and now they are being chased by them? Presenting the problem is different from the inciting incident however putting forth the initial problem you are hooking your readers in with a reason to care.

Do you start your comics en media res? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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hushicho at 5:00PM, Jan. 8, 2021

Well written, and a topic many writers don't understand very well. I tend to start all of my stories in media res, since that usually gives you a nice amount of momentum very easily. It can be very boring for both writer and audience if all is done is setting up the story that may or may not be that exciting, once you get to it. There's something to be said for not building up too much, because if you don't do it well, people will be disappointed. I just often like the momentum you get from starting in media res.

Banes at 10:01AM, Jan. 8, 2021

This took me a long time to understand, yeah! Good stuff! ...El Pluribus Unum.

Ozoneocean at 6:07AM, Jan. 8, 2021

Very sound advice!

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