Writer’s Glossary: In Media Res

Today on Writer’s Glossary…

In Media Res

In Latin, in media res means ‘into the middle of things’. For writers, this means start your story in the middle of the action to hook the reader. The temptation is to start a story at the beginning, but that often leaves the reader wading through lots of preamble. Start the story when it gets good.

Deadpool in media res

Deadpool’s in media res opening is an epic battle, but makes room for characterisation.

As always, there is a caveat. In media res doesn’t mean throwing the reader into an epic battle against the evil overlord from page one (unless you’re Deadpool). Doing this risks confusing the reader, giving them no time to engage with and therefore care about the characters. Action can be as simple as a knock on the door – it’s the police and somebody’s dead or the protagonist is wanted for questioning. Maybe a character goes to the bank only to discover their account has been cleared or a girl gets a text from her best friend, but the friend died last week. These scenarios pose questions, which mean people will read on and that’s how in media res can be a powerful tool in the writer’s armoury.




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