I have a character, who is part of a unique arm of the law, higher than the city guard.

This isn't a secret arm of the law; in the universe in which my novel is set, the characters of my book are already aware of what it is and how it fits in with the current law enforcement.

How do I go about explaining to the reader what this arm of the law is?

I'll give you a run-down of the scene.

My character is in a bar where he's just caused some trouble. Once the place calms down, the barmaid turns to him and says "What's a member of the Inner Circle doing in my bar, causing trouble with my patrons?"

I'm thinking about perhaps drip-feeding this information to the reader via the prying barmaid to allow the reader to figure the Inner Circle out for themselves. However, I'm worried that it'll sound forced.

Also, how do I ensure, using this method, that all my readers, whoever they may be, extract the right and same information from the explanation?

  • > "... that all my readers, whoever they may be, extract the right and same information from the explanation" - That may exist in Disneyland, but not in the real world. Forget about "all readers" and "right information". The road to perfection ends at chasm above hell. Just one more step and all is perfect. I promise. Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


What if your barmaid doesn't know that he is a member of the inner circle until the guard arrives? she can demand his arrest, make blunders, etc. and become polite, deferential, and apologetic. this sets up a minor mystery in the mind of the reader: what is the inner circle. Now that you have a minor mystery Your reader is primed for a history lesson after a delay. One caution: history lessons early in the book should ask more questions than they answer.

  • I like this concept. I'll try and work this into my scene!
    – Dan Hanly
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 22:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.