Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - A bit about exposition

Exposition is all about giving information. Often this involves backstory. You need to know how much to tell and how. Exposition is also used for describing people and places. Another place where you need to know how much to tell and how. In the beginning of a story, these are things that need to be there. The question is How much and when.

I begin with a rough draft that includes anything I can think of. This is the draft only a writer can love. Then I have to sit down and ask myself some questions. One of them is how can I put the information in so it doesn't seem to be paragraphs and paragraphs of material that will put the reader to sleep.

With the backstory, I ask myself questions. Is this material something I as the writer need to know? Does the reader need to know it at this point? If the reader needs to know how can I slip it into the action? Can I use dialogue. inner thoughts or a flash memory" Not a long memory that takes the reader way from the story. Most of the time I discover that all this backstory is something I need to know but the reader doesn't need to receive a blast of information at this time so I save it for later revelation.

The same goes for descriptions. What I look at here is what is the really important part of the scenery, something to hone in on during the action of the story. The same goes for character description. The glare in his blue eyes caused her to tremble is better than He had icy blue eyes. This goes for every bit of description. Light shone through the stained glass windows or Bright sunlight cast myriad colors on the cream walls. She was reminded of a kaleidoscope.

So use exposition wisely and get the facts needed across during the action and using only what's absolutely necessary during the beginning scenes of a story.


Melissa Keir said...

Great information. Glad you shared it!

Gemma Juliana said...

Thanks for this post, Janet. This is an area where I watch myself. Excellent reminder!