1. Sylvester
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    Sylvester Member

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    Starting in the middle

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Sylvester, Jul 31, 2009.

    I'm thinking about starting my script with a scene that occurs later in the movie. The script then jumps back two or three weeks to depict the events that lead up to that scene.

    It that a good set up or is it better to start from the beginning?
     
  2. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Start from whatever point will hook the audience first.
     
  3. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can write the scenes in whatever order you feel like it as long as you can put them in a logical order once you're done.
     
  4. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure. But plenty of shows actually start off like this. They will show some event that happens later in the episode, and then skip back a week, a few days, a few hours, and then show how they get to that point, and then continue on with the show.


    I am sure a few movies follow this as well.
     
  5. SA Mitchell
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    SA Mitchell Member

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    It's called a flash-forward, fairly common literary technique. Go for it.
     
  6. thabear637
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    thabear637 Member

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    Yeah, I can think of quite a few movies that do it like this. It can be VERY catchy if done right. I say go for it
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's done all the time... just be sure it works...
     
  8. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    What you're talking about is starting a story en media res.

    The action happens without much context, a few story specific buzzwords are thrown about, the villain is detailed in shadowy, vague terms, and the heroes look like they're about to lose.
    Bleeding on the floor, one of the characters has an internal monologue. "How could this have happened... just last week things were going so well..."

    Then you rewind a bit to last week, and everyone is all having fun, enjoying life and not being beat the crap out of. You tell the events, and things start falling apart, and the scene from the beginning pages or reel one happens, and you've filled in all the blanks and the readers know that the villain is looking for the MacGuffin and that the heroes were going to ambush him but messed up.

    Then from there you tell the rest of the story, whether it's another few chapters, half the book, or just a scene where the heroes pull their strengths together and beat the Big Bad.

    I've always wanted to do it. I think the best way to go about it would be to tell the story, and then edit the scenes around.
     
  9. JavaMan
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    JavaMan Senior Member

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    I'll let you know after I've seen the movie. Seriously... how are we supposed to answer that, man? You can use any plot, style, theme, character(s) elements, devices, -ologies, -isms, real or imagined, in any order or disorder under the sun (or otherwise) that you like. :confused:

    That's what writing is. In short, we can't really tell you... well we can, actually... but I think it would be better if you tell us.:D
     
  10. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Stole the words right out of my mouth :mad:

    This is usually used in a television series or film as a hook to catch the audience's interest in a pilot or opening respectively.

    Startings like this are great for when your story has a relatively slow starting point: A bait to keep them interested while you bring them up to speed.

    I like to think that it's a counter-measure to readers with short attention spans, which just so happen to be found within the Sci-fi and fantasy genres.

    Go figure :D
     
  11. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    En media res and a flash-forward are different things though. Generally, if a writer is said to write "in media res", it means that we are thrown into an already-active scene and left to work everything out from there. A flash-forward might throw you into an active scene from later in the book without giving you any information, but will then go back and detail the events leading up to that scene.
    Personally, I hate the idea of starting with some random scene. Its like saying "my introductory chapters are boring, but if you bear with it, this is what you'll get!"
     

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