Dealing with Writer’s Block: Using Media Res

By Bhalachandra Sahaj

media resSometimes I feel so inspired about a certain moment of my future story that having to write through massive amounts of text simply to get to the point that is most important to me feels discouraging. Indeed, in the case of a novel (since in a short story you get to the crescendo pretty fast, and in academic writing, the method I’m going to describe below isn’t really suitable), it can become one of the factors that cause writing block; you start procrastinating and delaying the moment when you need to start writing a whole story. Well, that’s what happens to me sometimes.

Fortunately, clever people have invented a method with an odd Latin name that saves authors from having to push themselves through the plot to the key moments of story. I am talking about In Media Res. This technique implies starting a story from the most crucial point of a fabula. In other words, you start from what is the most exciting, and then write the rest.

In my opinion, this is an effective and stylish method. If you have ever watched David Fincher’s “Fight Club,” you most likely remember that it starts with a scene where the main character is about to be shot in his head by a gun. More simply, it’s also called flashforward. After you describe the key scene, you can move to writing about predeceasing events that caused it to happen.

However, a flashforward does not necessarily have to be the ending episode of your story. You are free to continue the story after you show how the situation unfolded into the scene described In Media Res. By doing so, you can create a double intrigue, because by flashforwarding, you make your readers believe they are reading towards the logical end they already know, whereas you have some more aces in your sleeve to surprise your audience.

In Media Res is a simple and cool technique that solves several problems at once:
1. Lets you direct your inspiration and enthusiasm in writing an impressive beginning.
2. Saves you from losing enthusiasm by getting to the key point of your story.
3. Grants you with a nice chance to surprise and intrigue your audience.

So try it out, and share your results with us.

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