Questions tagged [exposition]

This tag should be used for questions about the usage of exposition as a means of highlighting the background information of the world or characters that are being described in the literary work you are currently writing.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
0 votes
1 answer
102 views

What is the name for a narrative structure where the story starts with an exposition or summary before recounting the plot in more detail?

I can't find the name for this online and I am an engineer, so don't socialise with people that would know. Consider the Aeneid, which begins: Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc'd by fate, And ...
1 vote
3 answers
164 views

Just made an exposition chapter and I'm worried

I'm currently working on a fantasy novel. Storyline wise I'm just about to charge into the second arc of the story, much more intense and action focused than the previous world building arc. I'm ...
1 vote
2 answers
92 views

Is the occasional practical exposition jarring?

I always try to keep exposition to a minimum; whenever there is any backstory or worldbuilding, I let it come out via dialogue. The narration is impersonal; I don't want it to feel like someone's ...
5 votes
5 answers
362 views

Scene & Sequel in exposition or world building

I have been trying to practice the scene and sequel structure, including the use of MRUs and I find it alternately natural and frustrating. I understand that the goal of this structure is to keep the ...
3 votes
3 answers
254 views

How do I add technical exposition in my fiction novel?

I have written a fiction novel about an adolescent who commits suicide. The story explores the childhood abuse from her father that pushed her to suicide, what she and her mother have done to try to ...
20 votes
13 answers
4k views

How do I provide exposition on a magic system when no character has an objective or complete understanding of it?

I'm writing an urban fantasy series in which like many urban fantasy series there is a magic-and-powers system hidden from the broader world that the supernatural phenomena of the series run on. ...
0 votes
3 answers
161 views

How do you format a chapter intended just for exposition?

How do you format a chapter intended just for exposition? Let's say your worldbuilding is really hard to digest for most readers so you create one chapters just for that, what are the various way to ...
3 votes
5 answers
1k views

How do I show that my character is intelligent?

I have a fantasy story in which the lead character is designed as your typical bland everyman protagonist whose purpose is to give the reader someone to relate to and ask questions about the ...
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

I have too much exposition in my stories. What to do?

I’ve posted several chapters of my in-progress trilogy on several writing critique websites, and while many of my fellow writers have praised my worldbuilding abilities, they have remarked that I ...
6 votes
3 answers
3k views

Describing the taste of food

I’m asking about this not because I have a tendency to do so myself, but rather because I find it unusually aggravating when I come across it in other people’s works. I’m wondering if this sort of ...
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

How to make "new apprentice" type info-dump less boring

I'm writing a story wherein a teenager X gets suddenly and involuntarily enlisted in an sci-fi army. I need to explain certain technology to the reader, and the army needs to explain certain ...
2 votes
1 answer
60 views

Does a response agree or disagree with points they didn't address? [closed]

Math teacher here. The problem is that I'm teaching a course where students are being asked to write online and then respond to each other. Suppose a student responds to disagree with a single point ...
3 votes
3 answers
313 views

How to maximize reader comprehension if worldbuilding is complicated?

Parts of my worldbuilding are critical to the plot. If readers don't understand the world, they won't understand the stakes for the protagonist and the failure conditions. Edit. Please don't assume ...
1 vote
2 answers
334 views

Setting exposition vs scene descriptions

If my main character goes to a new building – let's say in the beggining of a short story – and I describe the facade and the design of the building, is this exposition (i.e. information that is not ...
0 votes
2 answers
182 views

How to prevent secondary characters stealing protagonist role when using exposition via dialogue?

Due to the evolution of modern media I prefer to depend on exposition through dialogue. I try to avoid telling the reader anything. With simple plots this is easily achieved (often through the ...
10 votes
7 answers
990 views

How should I introduce new and complex technologies or tools?

I'm writing a Science Fiction book. While this book doesn't push reality very far, there are some new technologies and tools that I have added. One tool is used more frequently than all the others, ...
4 votes
5 answers
289 views

How do I describe Newtonian physics to the reader in a way that is realistic yet not too complex?

I have a story where I adhere strongly to plausible physics for space combat (some behind-the-scenes development for the story: How to Conduct Plausible Space Combat Intercepts and Tactical Options ...
6 votes
4 answers
740 views

How early in the narrative should I start my book?

I've just recently finished building the setting and plot of a fantasy coming-of-age story. I'm happy with the way it turned out; the character arcs feel compelling and the setting supports the plot ...
14 votes
7 answers
957 views

Breaking up a talky piece of writing

Dialogue is my favorite thing to write. I tend to use a lot of dialogue in my writing, which sometimes results in long, talky passages -- a bit similar to this question about breaking up exposition. ...
3 votes
3 answers
187 views

Avoiding info-dumps when writing about amnesiacs

In the story I'm writing one character suffers from amnesia as a result of an accident. I want another character, with whom they were in love, to tell about their past in order to help regain their ...
11 votes
3 answers
4k views

Should I explain the reasons for gaslighting?

I have an ambiguous script situation, 2 co-protagonists begin gaslighting the MC. They each have ulterior motives which they don't say. The reader is intended to infer the lies through contradictory ...
12 votes
8 answers
2k views

Should mystery stories have resolutions?

I'm working on the finishing touches of a story that has as part of the plot a possibly-supernatural mystery. I'm feeling rather nervous about the whole thing though because said mystery isn't the ...
12 votes
7 answers
1k views

Should I "tell" my exposition or give it through dialogue?

When my work was being critiqued, one of the critics said that the exposition given away in my dialogue was forced and unnatural. Though, this exposition is crucial, so leaving it out is out of the ...
19 votes
5 answers
4k views

Protagonist constantly has to have long words explained to her. Will this get tedious?

A while back, I redrafted my NaNoWriMo 2017 story, but it still needs another draft. This question is about one of the concerns I have. The story takes place in a medieval fantasy setting, and the ...
3 votes
4 answers
234 views

When should a supporting character be scrapped?

So I'm wondering if this supporting character, who I use for exposition purposes, can be made more vital in some way. When does a supporting character become necessary for the plot? What criteria do ...
-1 votes
4 answers
178 views

In a first-person web novel, how to make the reader aware of a motivator the POV is unaware of?

In my novel, the MC (and POV character) spares an enemy. He spared the enemy because he empathized/identified himself with them, but he was not aware of it. Later on he will understand his feelings ...
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Am I using too much exposition here? [closed]

Lillia usually arrived to school on her own. The other girls from her hometown got a later train more often than not. She purposefully arrived early to be able to complete homework she had ...
3 votes
2 answers
594 views

Exposition: Talking Animals - How do I Reveal This to the Reader?

I'm writing a book series where most of the cast are highly anthropomorphized animals (or in some cases mythological creatures). Humans still exist in this universe, but are rare (only being found in ...
18 votes
9 answers
8k views

Writing a character who is an expert in something that I can't know

I'm writing a story where the main character comes back from the dead. The character is fully lucid, knowledgeable and articulate about what has happened. I want to depict the character as an expert, ...
8 votes
5 answers
1k views

Using questions in dialog to facilitate exposition

What are the guidelines on using questions in dialog (between ignorant characters) to expose setting and backstory? A few exchanges between my characters seem to fall flat. I'm trying to sort out why. ...
6 votes
3 answers
710 views

Is excerpts from an in-universe book, presented between chapters, a good way of handling exposition?

A book that I'm currently writing called Surge features an enemy faction called the Degenerates that are heavily inspired by the Scythians (Indo-Iranian horse nomads that ruled the Eurasian Steppe and ...
15 votes
7 answers
4k views

How to avoid the 'magic explanation' info dump in Fantasy novels

In the second book of his Inheritence Cycle, Christopher Paolini makes the grievous error of landing his main character in the middle of a serene woodland where he must sit and talk with an old elf ...
6 votes
5 answers
750 views

Inside your character's head - when does it become too much?

I've read that leaving your character alone for too long can spell death for your novel. That you should put them out there in the world so they can interact with other characters. That you shouldn't ...
2 votes
1 answer
180 views

How to fill up novels in the series after the first one?

I have an idea for a novel series that I want to write. I'm into the first one, and I've got a pretty good idea of all that I want to happen in it. I also have some ideas as to events that I want to ...
4 votes
8 answers
442 views

How do I decide whether to answer questions, or leave them unexplained?

At first glance, the question may be subjective, but let me provide a specific example: A story I'm self-editing takes place in a present-day small Virginia town. At present, the town is being ...
0 votes
3 answers
210 views

How to expose a reader to the rules of a fantastical world? [duplicate]

I am currently in the process of re-writing my play Black Tape as a novel. Because of the change in format, more needs to simply happen - which I am entirely okay with. Main feature of the universe in ...
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

How can I describe technology while avoiding problems with scaling?

Worldbuilding chat has pointed me to this stack because it's less about defining the technology and more about how to express these definitions in a relatable and realistic way. A pretty frequent ...
2 votes
5 answers
290 views

How much detail should I go into for a character taking advantage of physics expertise?

Let's imagine a book where my character holds the power of light. Reason being, everyone in his country is born with telekinesis. He however, is the only one with enough grasp of the (maybe a little ...
2 votes
3 answers
446 views

My premise suggests a LOT more history than I want in my book

I'm writing a fantasy story in which there is a contemporary earth (our earth) and a secondary world. Due to certain reasons all earthlings who are able to reach the second world have great magical ...
0 votes
1 answer
81 views

My Main Characters Expostion Peaks at a Point, but How? [closed]

My book starts at the end of my main characters research on a topic. And I wanted to give a feeling of him being neck deep in research. I thought of those stereotypical moments on tv shows where a ...
9 votes
9 answers
5k views

How do I write about nerdy concepts without sounding like a tryhard?

How would one express nerdy gobbledygook without sounding like a technical tryhard? For instance, if I were to explain the backstory of something and it perhaps contained the word electromagnetic or ...
12 votes
1 answer
945 views

How to show that something is different than in real life?

I'm writing fiction set in the near future (~15-20 years). The world is still mostly the same and thus familiar to the reader, but an important part of the story is that a few things are radically ...
6 votes
1 answer
779 views

My story moves too fast

I finally sat down and wrote the first chapter of my planned novel. Reading back through it, I realized that there is so much that happens in only 2000 words. People die, the protagonist is captured, ...
5 votes
5 answers
423 views

Dealing with Extreme Distances - Space Travel

I know, you can go the Star Wars/Star Trek "hand wave" route and make it seem like everything is a few minutes or hours away, but... How do I implement a scenario where space travel is as common and ...
1 vote
1 answer
174 views

Too much exposition in my full-length play: how to fix it?

Dear Writers & Playwrights; I'm working on my first full-length play. In workshops, the feedback is consistently, "Too much exposition." I agree with the criticism. What I'm struggling with is . ...
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

How do I avoid a “mid-story info dump?”

I am revising the manuscript for a novel. About a third into the story, a major turning point occurs when the main character (through whom the reader follows the story) realizes that things are not at ...
8 votes
5 answers
1k views

How Much Exposition is Too Much Exposition

I am in the process of figuring out how to write a mostly autobiographical piece (maybe, eventually, novel) about my experiences related to dancing (Swing, Blues, and a little Hip-Hop, in case you ...
10 votes
1 answer
256 views

Expositing a lack of racial difference

I have a story set in a fantasy-Africa, in which the protagonist must make her way from her rural home to a coastal city in order to seek medical treatment that will save her life. One beta reader for ...