I have been beating around the bush for some time in my story, because I don't know at which point I should jump in. I will try to make the summary as brief as possible. My story is set in 10th century Byzantium and has two main protagonists. One is a Varangian mercenary who has been exiled from his native Scandinavia and seeks redemption for his past crimes (though I have not narrowed down whether this is a conscious or unconscious motivation) and makes his way eventually to Constantinople. The second antagonist is a witch from Kiev who also eventually end of in Kiev with the motivation to murder the Byzantine emperor, responsible for betraying and massacring her people. My problem is, in history, there is a good four years between the point where this said emperor betrays said people and the point wherein he is (according to history) poisoned by his Imperial Chamberlain. Do I start the story at the plot to poison him, with the massacre four years hence and simply have the massacre as a back story to my female antagonist as a clue to what motivates her? Or should I start at the beginning and detail the whole sordid story of the violence done in present day Ukraine and also have to detail her trip down the Dnieper River and find a way for her to pass the time till history says I can finally off the emperor? LOL. And if the former, should I use flashbacks and kind of feed a little bit at a time to my reader, till they finally figure out what the motivation would be for such an apparently good person to give in to such a dastardly deed? Finally, I am wrestling with the whole Three Act structure to my story (yes I am still in the outlining process) and wondering if the motivation I have going on is sufficient to even make a story, or if these are only the stuff of sub plots. I am starting to get discouraged. Any advice on these points would be greatly appreciated.