Is it bad to get into action too quickly in a story?

On the fourth paragraph on my first chapter is where my action starts. Is this bad?

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    This is going to be one of the 0.001% of occasions on which I disagree with @cathrl69. I'm on the In Medias Res style. There's always time for explication later; explication at the beginning can quickly get boring.

    Of course 5 minutes from now I'm going to think of dozens of books that I love that do begin with explication, but even so, I think they're exceptions to (my) rule.

    I'd much rather read a book beginning "Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead...." than one beginning "Our story takes place in Dublin, Ireland, on June 16, 1904. There's this guy Leopold Bloom, an ad salesman, married to a singer, Molly, who's bonking her agent when Leo's not around. Oh, and some young guys who live in an old tower. Anyway, one morning....."

    Or: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking 13," rather than, "England is being ruled by a dictatorial government and is at war, and by the way, in this parallel universe they use the 24-hour time system. So...."

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    You waited until the fourth paragraph?

    There is honestly no right or wrong in this matter. Some writers jump right in with the action from the first sentence. I tend to be one of those. In my case, the readers get to know the character as the action is happening. In fact, the action and the character's actions and reactions are mostly how the readers learn about the character. Other writers build more slowly and take time to get to the action. As long as that's holding the reader's interest, it's a good beginning.

    Keep in mind that before a book is published, it generally goes through multiple rounds of rewrites and edits. I find that the beginning I write when I first start is story isn't always the beginning it has by the time it's published.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Well yes, that would be the definition of "too quickly".

    Is it bad to start with action? No. But don't expect readers to have sympathy for a character involved in it who they know nothing about.

    Edit: Dude, I'm flattered :) What I mean is, don't write your "tragic death" scene at the start of your story for a character we don't even know is a good guy yet. It's fine to have them DO something.

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  • Zarn
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Not in and of itself. There's no fiction police that will show up to arrest you if you do this. Some authors actually start the action even sooner than you did - the techinque is called In Medias Res.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Not at all. Books that begin with flowery prose make me yawn.

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