“Start in the middle. Start in the middle. Start in the middle.” This was something Patrick would drill into the new players, day after day. And sometimes, seasoned players as well. Today, I affectionately call this your Most Memorable Moment (MMM).
Patrick was the owner of ComedySportz DC, a professional improvisational comedy group I joined in 1993. I also performed with ComedySportz in San Jose, California.
The reason for Patrick’s mantra of “Start in the middle,” is simple. Most people tell stories from the beginning. And unfortunately, this drags the story out and causes the audience to become impatient. Almost always. The best part of the story comes in the middle of the story. Just as with storytelling, the same applies to movies, books, radio, speeches, etc. Audiences expect fast-paced action and dialogue. Audiences have little patience for slow-paced comedy. And little patience for slow-paced storytelling.
Most Memorable Moment – Love Your MMMs
20 plus years later, I still apply Patrick’s mantra of “Start in the middle” to my coaching and training. As mentioned above, my version of “Start in the Middle” is Most Memorable Moment or MMM. Additionally, unbeknownst to me until many years after improv, I learned of a rhetoric narrative phrase called, in medias res. This Latin phrase validates both Patrick’s and my current approach of starting in the middle. In medias res means, “into the middle of things.” Horace, the Roman poet and satirist (65 – 8 BC), first used in medias res around 13 BC.
As such, my tip is to start your stories with your Most Memorable Moment of your story. Literally, edit everything out of your story before your Most Memorable Moment. Edit ruthlessly. If needed, you can add the necessary details as you tell your story.
Often, your MMM is a) when you said something interesting to one of the characters or b) when you experienced an aha moment.
More Storytelling Tips
- Turn Your Personal Experience Into An Engaging, Powerful Story (read now)
- Add Suspense To Your Story With “Near-Impossible Goals” (read now)
- “Pause” With Purpose In Speaking, Training, And Storytelling (read now)
Photography Source: Freepik
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