Time Does Not Flow Like a River

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"in medias res[...], beginning a narration not in chronological order" (Hamilton 167).

This technique has risen in popularity over the recent years, and especially in the movie industry.  The technique seems to work well for movies.  Since most movies focus on the direct and indirect actions of its characthers, movie could benefit from an attention-grabbing beginning.  However, if the beginning is too disconnected from the rest of story, the unordered plot becomes a mess.  As a result, the audience will quicdkly leave the theater in droves.  The principle can be applied to books.  Remember: even advant grade has its limits.

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2 Comments

Great points Ethan. I like how you connect literary terms to movies here. I recently saw "The Good Shepherd" which has a rather provocative beginning that takes place in the future. The movie then proceeds to go back and forth between present and past, which kept me hooked on what would otherwise have been a rather boring movie. This is a really great strategy for movies because they are all about showing. I think that authors have more trouble doing this; however, as you said, it often makes for a more interesting story.

Good points, Ethan and Erica. A routine story can capture the reader's interest if it's told in the right way. The Harry Potter stories find clever ways to let Harry peek into the past and get glimpses of other people's memories, which add to the depth of the main story, which progresses in strict linear fashion in each book. (Well, except when time travel is involved, but even then we follow the story chronologically as Harry experienced it.)

Too much exposition at the beginning of a story (or an academic paper) can be very boring. Just get to the point! You can always slip in explanations along the way.

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This page contains a single entry by EthanShepley published on April 7, 2008 10:20 PM.

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