In Medias Res

Starting a venture is exciting as much as terrifying. Your organization is coming together from the germ of your idea. You get a logo. You see your first printed business card. You launch a website and post to your first social media account. You are bathed in dawn’s glow and your adventure has begun!

 

Damp moss near Arthur's Pass, New Zealand

Soon however, the warm light of sunrise fades. Your to-do lists become long. You find yourself ignoring the website, the blog, and the social media accounts. Feeding the content beast is time-consuming and seems fruitless. You suspect you should change your strategy, but how? There are so many choices. You add “evaluate marketing” to one of your lists, but you don’t cross it off so you just end up transferring it from old to new lists. Perhaps you stop copying it over because seeing it feels you with dread.

 

There’s all kinds of ways to structure a story. Often, we meet characters before they set out on adventures. If we don’t begin at the beginning, the author might start the story “in medias res,” or “in the middle of things.” We meet our protagonist in trouble. We learn who she is as she finds her way out of it to continue her quest. Her past is prologue or a mystery to be solved along the way. Her future depends on her steely resolve to keep going.

 

Perhaps you aren’t standing in rosy light anymore. You have gained experience from your adventures, but you find yourself in a dark place. In any good story, readers journey with the protagonist through all kinds of trouble. The part that sets our hearts racing is not the slick beginning but the sticky middle of an adventure. I want to see a character’s determination to keep going when the rays of dawn are a distant memory.

 

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