1. CelesteMwilson
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    CelesteMwilson New Member

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    Where do I begin?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CelesteMwilson, Apr 25, 2010.

    I am thinking along the lines of beginning my novel in the middle of the story where the main character finds himself deep in trouble and begins to wonder where it all went wrong. My idea is then to go back to where it all starts, work my way forward and then move along to how he tries to fix it all. Is this a good place to start or will it all get too confusing?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's a solid approach, and has been used to great success. One virtue of the approach is you begin with action, deeply involving the reader in te story. Also, you give the reader questions rather than answers from the beginning, holding the reader's interest.
     
  3. runaway_lighthouse
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    runaway_lighthouse Member

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    I have to agree; if executed well, I this approach has already proved it works. The Iliad was begun in medias res, with epic results. Just be careful not to give too much away in your first few chapters, or you may not be able to engage your reader's attention once you do go back to the beginning.
     
  4. alexwebb
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    alexwebb Member

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    Nothing wrong with that approach. Start it and see where it goes!
     
  5. EileenG
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    EileenG Member

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    Way better than waking up in bed, having a normal boring day with lots of backstory monologue , then finally having something exciting happen
     
  6. Kursal
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    Kursal Senior Member

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    It's a great place to start. Take a look at the film Memento to see it done incredibly well.
     
  7. CelesteMwilson
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    CelesteMwilson New Member

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    Thank you for all the positive comments above. I will also take a look at the film Memento to see how well it worked. I am rather excited now!
     
  8. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    I agree with everyone here! Mhh I don't feel like I'm adding anything to this topic.
    Ah, well.

    Good luck on the writing then! :)
    ~ Lola
     
  9. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    Starting in the middle of the action can be a very good method to starting a story, it'll get your reader's attention faster than the traditional "It was a bright and..." blah blah blah.

    Also there's a lot of examples for looking to see how it's done, I can't think of any at the moment besides the one previously suggested. But if I do think of some, I'll suggest them to you.
     
  10. Deevra
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    Deevra Member

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    I find myself in agreement with everyone else, however you don't necesarily have to follow up with flashbacks. You can just shift time and go back to where you began with little explanation. You could even go one further with two seperate timelines moving forward, using alternating chapters to tell each part. Start at the middle, move forward, next chapter from the beginning, moving towards the middle. You could even have the two timelines dovetail emotionally.
     
  11. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    I have to agree with Deevra, altough I hate it as a reader when I read something with loads of suspense and the next chapter is about some 'boring' stuff that happened earlier, I just want to read on. This would ofcourse mean you'd be doing a great job because I'm really caught by the story and this new chapter that starts with "two months earlier" ( (bad) example) would take away the suspense and kick me out of the story.
     
  12. Deevra
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    Deevra Member

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    Ah, but the previous timeline work does not have to be boring. Think about this, what if your main character has a scar, or a limp, perhaps? Don't explain it, but have that scar or limp be absent in the past. The reader knows something is coming, but will not know what it is. You create buildup and suspense. Or put in the opposite, say you have a supporting player that is in all the past scenes, yet is absent in the present, but do not explain. Lead the reader into believing they are dead, string them along, and then, WHAM, big reveal!
     

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