What Star Wars “A New Hope” Can Teach Us About In Medias Res

In my infinite wisdom (aka my vacation-addled brain) I plum forgot to write a blog post for today. Because I’m awesome. It is times like these, my doves, when writers and bloggers alike turn to the blogosphere in a blind panic and cry out “Dear Intertubes, somebody save me!”

And the Intertubes answer: “Behold. How ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ teaches writers about beginning in the thick of things.”

Many thanks also to Kristen Lamb for writing this post and being as nerdy as I am.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

On Friday we talked about using setting as a literary device. Setting is one of those tools that helps writers to do more showing than telling. Today, we are going to tackle a highly confusing subject for many writers—In medias res. In medias res quite literally means in the middle of things. This is a literary tactic that has been used since the days of Odysseus. It is a tactic that forces the writer forward, to begin the story near the heart of the problem.

The Trouble with In Medias Res

Ah, but this is where we writers can get in trouble. I see writers beginning their novels with high-action gun battles, blowing up buildings, a heart-wrenching, gut-twisting scene in a hospital or at a funeral, all in an effort to “hook the reader” by “starting in the middle of the action.” Then when they get dinged/rejected by an…

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