top of page

Wondering how to start your book? Try medias res!

Medias res is a Latin term meaning "in the middle of things." In writing, starting a story in medias res means beginning the narrative in the middle of the action or a crucial moment rather than at the chronological beginning.

This technique plunges readers into the heart of the story, creating immediate engagement and intrigue by starting with tension, conflict, or a significant event…the hook.
 
The following books employ this technique:
 
"The Odyssey" by Homer: Homer's ancient Greek epic poem begins with the hero Odysseus stranded on the island of Ogygia, recounting his past adventures to the Phaeacians.
 
"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien: Tolkien's fantasy novel starts with Bilbo Baggins already embarking on an unexpected journey to help Thorin and his company of dwarves reclaim their homeland.
 
"The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown: In Brown's mystery thriller, the story opens with the murder of Jacques Saunière at the Louvre Museum, plunging symbologist Robert Langdon into a high-stakes investigation.
 
These books immerse readers in the heart of the action, setting the stage for the unfolding narrative and drawing them into the story immediately. Readers are compelled to keep reading!
 
How can you use this technique?
 
Start with a Compelling Scene: Begin your story with a captivating and high-stakes scene…a murder, a robbery, a lovers’ quarrel….grab the reader's attention and raise questions that keep them hooked.
 
Integrate Backstory: While starting in medias res immerses readers in the action, it's essential to weave in backstory and context seamlessly as the story progresses. Provide enough information to orient readers without overwhelming them with exposition, aka info dump.
 
Use Flashbacks: To enrich the narrative and deepen character development, strategically incorporate flashbacks to reveal essential background information or fill in gaps in the story. Use flashbacks sparingly and ensure they enhance the present-day storyline without disrupting the flow of the narrative.

This is a great way to start your story, create tension and questions right away! Hook your reader!

Have you used this technique? How did it work for you? Do you have some tips to add?
 
Happy writing!

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page