In medias res or medias in res (into the middle of things) is a Latin phrase for the literary and artistic narrative technique where the relating of a story begins at the midpoint, rather than at the beginning (cf. ab ovo, ab initio), establishing setting, character, and conflict … The main advantage of in medias res is to open the story with dramatic action rather than exposition which sets up the characters and situation. –Wikipedia, In Media Res.
The first stories that come to mind when I think of the phrase ‘In Media Res’, are the Iliad and the Odyssey. This literary tactic isn’t just for epic, Greek poetry; it can be applied to any story. Many agents/publishers have sent back manuscripts saying to cut the first several chapters so the beginning of the story has all the needed action and drama. I know this can be hard, because I like writing those chapters of background. Just because that is what I like to write, doesn’t mean that is what others want to read. Besides, what is the fun of learning everything there is to know about a character at the beginning, instead of unraveling the protagonist’s mysterious back-story while the plot unfolds? So next time you start a story, think about writing it ‘in media res’, to heighten the action, drama, and intrigue.
Since I last posted on ‘writing it down’, I have discovered another joy of the
practice. Specifically, writing down good lines. I have half a page filled up
with quips I can’t wait for my characters to say, well, as soon as I figure out
a situation for them to say them in. I am not very quick on my feet in
conversations, and tend to mull over them later wondering what I could have
said better, or just said at all. And from that comes my page dedicated to good
lines. Here is a good quote I found on conversation, that I found applicable for
writing dialogue. ‘In conversation, humor is worth more than wit and easiness more than knowledge.’ – George Herbert. Well said! And so I hope that my collection of
lines that I will someday actually put into the mouths of my characters follow
those guidelines. Even if I am still a dull conversationalist, at least my characters never will be!
I don’t know much about Walt Disney, but most of his quotes that I have seen I really like. ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ I think many people have forgotten that. And the other half of the people have forgotten that it takes a lot of hard work to do it. Obtaining your dreams can be tough, hard, and just seem downright impossible. Don’t give up! Sometimes all you have to keep you going is your dreams, so don’t abandon them. Another Walt Disney quote pertains, “All your dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them.” So be courageous!
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Thank you for supporting me in achieving my dreams!