30 Days of Encouragement for NaNoWriMo (and other writers, too!)
Triteness aside, congratulations! You really are half way through a crazy, fun feat of imagination and dedication and though I’m sure it’s been hard work, I hope you’re having a good time, too.
In honor of today marking the halfway point, I thought I’d pass along a little tip that my writing coach, Bindu Wiles, recently reminded me of… in medias res.
If you aren’t sure how to begin, begin in the middle.
In medias res is Latin for “into the middle of things” and it is a wonderful idea to keep in mind if you’re stuck. Try to resist becoming a slave to chronology. There’s a very good reason that most of our elementary school essays about “What We Did On Our Summer Vacation” (First we did this, then we went here, then so-and-so said this, then there was another person there…) didn’t turn into wildly successful literature: It’s not the most exciting way to tell a story.
Throwing your reader directly into the action is almost always preferable to leading gently with pages of exposition. Create a situation where the reader cannot help but be engaged. It’s OK if they feel they have some catching up to do right off the bat – they’ll want to stick around to find out what’s going on!
Today, I challenge and encourage you to start your next scene or chapter in the middle of a situation. I’d love to hear how it turns out!