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In Medias Res

 

Disciplines > StorytellingStory Devices > In Medias Res

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

'In medias res means starting the story in the middle or some time after the natural beginning of the story.

Example

A murder story starts after the person is murdered. The story then gradually reveals why and how the murder took place.

Discussion

The effect of starting in the middle is that significant questions and consequent tension is created as the audience wonder about what happened before. They thus attend closely as their questions are gradually answered.

This also allows the presentation of the story to start in the middle of some exciting action without having to tediously explain why it happens beforehand.

The term was first coined by the Roman poet Horace in Ars Poetica, where he describes the ideal epic.

See also

 

 

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