Username/Email: Password:
News Article
New Poll - Middle of the Action
This week's poll was suggested by jacob66. You know that storytelling technique of dropping you off in the middle of the action and then doing a flashback of all the events that led up to that moment? Like in the movies where they go "Yup, that's me. You're probably wondering how I got into this situation". Do you like this technique?

You can submit poll ideas here

Previous Poll Results:
Question: In reality, you're lying in a coma. Everything you've experienced in your life was a dream in your brain. Do you choose to wake up?
No - votes: 882 (25.3%)
Yes - votes: 2610 (74.7%)
There were 3492 total votes.
The poll ended: May 22nd 2021

Reality wins
Posted by lambchopsil on 
May 22nd 11:14pm
Comments ( 18 )  
[ View ]  [ Add ]

» Joese on May 22nd, 2021, 5:27pm

I quite like "In media res " starts, I think it's one of the most engaging ways to start a story. I remember I once accidentally bought the ninth book of a horror series thinking it was the first, it was a great experience, with no unnecessary flashbacks.

But the again doing an overly long flashback explaining EVEYTHING up to that point. Completely ruins this trope for me. I especially dislike it when it isn't done in a fluid or consistent way, and completely halts the current action. In manga, they usually don't want to spoil the action with the narrators insight. So we end up seeing a distorted vision of what the author wants us to see . Which usually is a good terrain for many ass pull plots too milk out a series.

They also use this trope when they stretch the story without telling us a key concurrence the all the characters are conscious of but purposely hide it from the reader over and over. This is even more annoying when it's a pivotal occurrence (ex.: in the Monogatari series we don't really know what happened in the golden week yet it's mentioned in almost every chapter without revealing everything...until later on ) . Nisekoi's whole plot is an example of this . CLAMP excessively abuses this trope.

Up to date I can't think of a manga that has done this well. Except maybe Berserk's golden ark. (Even then they hid some stuff to later throw it at our faces. Like the fairy he met as a child. )


» Trimutius on May 22nd, 2021, 7:51pm

Depends on how it is done, so no opinion...


» residentgrigo on May 23rd, 2021, 4:51am

No opinion. Foregone conclusions are often gimmicky but can work. Committing to nonlinearity is probably the better idea. Like in Memento.


» RoxFlowz on May 23rd, 2021, 8:54am

It can be done well, but I usually don't like it.


» Transdude1996 on May 23rd, 2021, 9:10am

Quote from RoxFlowz
It can be done well, but I usually don't like it.

No better way to phrase it.


» SKyz007 on May 23rd, 2021, 2:15pm

No opinion. Depends on the writer's execution if I like it or not.


» juls91 on May 24th, 2021, 6:40am

Am i too tired or this question makes no sense lol

a situation that i myself went through? or someone else's? and starting in the middle? of what? how do you know there is a "middle"...

it is all rhetorical at this point XD


» mattai on May 24th, 2021, 12:04pm

Like anything else, it can be done poorly, but it often works pretty well. Gives you something to look forward while the story is in the introductory stages.

When done well, you can often feel how well the author has the story planned out in advance.


» hkanz on May 24th, 2021, 8:27pm

No. It’s just a cheap hook to get the reader/viewer interested. Writers don’t start a story that way because they think it’s great writing.


» Jooles on May 25th, 2021, 7:11am

No opinion, as in "When done right..."

Berserk does it excellently, with the small arc (which I can barely, barely remember) before the Golden Age (?). The "Fuck you, Griffith (?)!" creates a tenseness throughout the entire GA. How will he become a God Hand?

(Should probably reread Berserk since I can't remember anything, but I'm still waiting for word if we're gonna get answers to all the questions or not (i.e. a "bible" left behind by Miura). Questions without answers are bleh.)

There's also the added value of enticing a reader, and many great stories start off painfully "slow". It's a quick way of showing its colors quickly, e.g. making promises to the reader that it won't be "slow" forever.


» ebisu on May 25th, 2021, 3:11pm

Hate it. There I go trying to avoid spoilers and what does the story? "Let's start with spoilers!" Grrr. 😠


» YeyiTanemon on May 26th, 2021, 8:13am

Depends in how it's done.
First time I read a story like this felt so surprised, though I forgot which book it was 😅


» UpToFourPlayers on May 26th, 2021, 10:03am

Like a lot of comments, I have no opinion because it really depends on how it's handled. Personally as long as there are still twists after you catch up to the middle opening, I don't mind. But if you open right before the final climax, then it feels less compelling.


» Onsen on May 27th, 2021, 5:32am

I don't mind being dropped in, but I absolutely loathe flashbacks that last longer than one scene.

If I'm dropped in somewhere, I want to know the resolution, not what led up to it. After the resolution I'm open for flashbacks again. Or during the resolution, like a detective explaining events type of things.


» HikaruYami on May 27th, 2021, 7:29am

I picked I don't like it

It's not like I hate every single time it happens--sometimes, it can be executed in a way that is still enjoyable.

But if you were to ask me whether I have ever encountered a version of it that I thought was better than if they had merely started at the beginning?

I would say no. I don't like cheap shock value and that's all you can really get from it.

If the best execution possible still only matches a normal "start from the beginning" execution, then that means the net effect of the gimmick itself is bad.

That's why I didn't pick "no opinion" even though the gimmick itself doesn't always make me hate the media. It still makes the media worse.


» silvarion on May 27th, 2021, 2:37pm

I don't like it. I don't like flashbacks in general, even more so if it's long (spanning more than one volume). this kind of thing (the topic of the poll I mean), feels way too similar to flashbacks lasting especially long, so I don't like it.


» dreamer00013 on May 27th, 2021, 10:22pm

I remember clockwork planet or terror man fondly for being able to pull it off.
Others, not so much.
But those are to show there'll be character growth, and to create curiosity and tension for the rest of the whole manga/story.

So if done right, I really like it. If it's not, it can be quite annoying. I'm not a fan of flashbacks for a reason.


» scarletrhodelia on May 28th, 2021, 10:43am

Some stories need to be told this way, when you want your story to start at the point where most of the narrative is taking place. If you do the "how we got here" part first, it can feel like a bait-and-switch when after the explanation you do "five years later..." Starting in the middle of the action gets the audience invested in the story right away, when starting with the background might not.

7 Seeds does this. It starts at the apocalypse, where we see the point of the seeds. We learn who the main characters are and start to root for them. If it had started with the beginning of the "7 seeds" program, and the histories of all the different groups, I think we would have lost interest before we got to the payoff.