Start with a Moment of Meaning

storytelling tips

In medias res: (Latin) the practice of beginning an epic or other narrative by plunging into a crucial situation that is part of a related chain of events; the situation is an extension of previous events and will be developed in later action.

This is a term (and a practice) that every storyteller must understand well.

All too often storytellers start their stories in exposition, assuming that the audience needs to know everything (or even something) before anything can happen.

Not true.

Audiences want stories to start.

They want to be thrust into the story.

They are willing to be taught things along the way, but get that story started and help the audience catch as you move forward with action and dialogue.

Do the same for each scene of your story.

Don't start your restaurant scene with your arrival at the restaurant.

Don't start your airplane scene with the arrival at the airport.

Don't start your embarrassing high school locker room scene when you’re fully clothed.

Start with a moment of meaning. Push into the story and each scene to a place that will grab the audience's attention.

Start in medias res. Make the audience WANT to hear your story.


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