As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"


Kinds of Expose
We just saw a bunch of expose across the board… expose blended into a scene, action instead of it, and awaking images instead of explaining. So, let’s go a little further:
We can cut expose into three practical categories at this point, for writing/editing purposes :
1. Expose that can be tweaked on the spot (sometimes). And
2.  Expose that takes planning.
3. Villain expository
Let’s look at each of them closer:
1.     Expose that can be tweaked on the spot (sometimes)
Most of these types of expository can be tweaked and reworked on the spot, through editing:
·        Actions through physicality, body language, tone, etc, that help us understand a character better… also…
·        world building through doing rather than telling - acting within the world: like, pulling the shutters if it’s too bright, or making the coffee in the futuristic coffee pot instead of explaining that it’s futuristic and works as follows, etc.
But the other type of expository to be fixed, is something that takes more planning... and really from the get go. And that’s not so tweakable expose: Interweaving info dumps throughout the story for plot necessity.  (Not so easily tweakable)

Let’s go through the easier, tweak-on-the-spot expose, a little further:
·        Expository in action. Shrugs, body language, scars: Physical things that tell the story for you.
A) Whether it's a personality trait (hard and quiet, soft and meek, well-fed and fat, thin and starving, alone and craving companionship, hurt and craving silence, tough life not needing people, etc.... )
B) Or a physical thing itself: a scar, an ability (martial arts, driving, knife throwing, mechanic, etc...)....
C) Or a character’s expression: such as a reaction. A shrug instead of saying someone doesn’t care, a wince instead of saying someone was hurt by what was said, an eye roll  instead of saying someone is annoyed, etc...
D) or lastly, an action itself, instead of an explanation of an action.  (think futuristic coffee-pot)
Frankly, this is simply writing technique, and can be worked on without significant changes to a script. Unless of course you decide your character now needs ninja-knife throwing abilities to show the childhood she had growing up in an ancient army of the dead… that’s gonna take a little more than tweaking.
Which takes us to our next type of expository writing:


2.                 Expose that takes planning,
or expository told through storytelling. This is the more difficult task. It takes structuring; intertwining info in small snippets throughout your plot. This takes crafting, outlining, knowing your story.
TIP: Slight tip here… when you’re struggling with this, and say trying to avoid having the main character talk about their past in an info-dump, consider having other characters tell the expose snippet… but do it as quickly as possible.
Example:
      What's her issue?" I asked, still nurturing my shot ego back to life.
      "Don't ask." Libby said with a shake of her petite head.
      "Too late."
      She sighed, but offered nothing.
      "What?” I pushed. I could feel my mouth twitch into an ugly grimace, but couldn’t help myself. “We all have freakin’ issues, is hers so bad?"
      Libby’s eyes snapped up to mine, hard and cold. "Depends on whether you think seeing your entire family wiped out in front of you is bad, jackass."
      I felt my mouth open, but I couldn’t get anything out.
      She turned then, without another word, and walked away.
Now we know stuff about an entirely different character, and they weren’t even in the scene to tell us!
And lastly, this is a little side venture that’s more specific than the general aspects of expository writing we just covered... But it’s a thing of mine, a strong pet peeve, so I’m gonna talk about it like it’s its own type of expository.  (It’s really not… it’s actually part of story-telling expository, the “untweakable-quickly” type of expo. The type that needs awareness from the start of you crafting your ms).
AND THAT IS:
3.                 Villain expository!
This last type of expository really bothers me, to no end… but it’s the one that’s most rampant – because it’s the hardest to hide. It’s the hardest to weave into the story without giving certain plot twists away too early. And therefore, we’re more often than not, dealing with the Villain’s reasoning for what they’ve been doing all along, for really what is going on in the story, this reasoning and explanation offered in one large info dump. And what makes it worse, is that it normally comes smack at the end of the story, at the height of conflict. So there’s all this tension, and nerve, and action… and then, hang on a moment… let me explain my thoughts to you while you’re tied up and waiting for me to kill you.
Holding the protagonist hostage while the villain explains EVERYTHING, is never realistic, it always feels like an info dump… and it tends to push your reader to say to themselves: "Just kill him already."
If you work on anything, make sure you work on this. It takes good planning, and there is no quick fix.

Okay, on to the fun part: EXERCISES!
These are exercises to work on how to spot and tweak expository writing. I call these “exercises in fixing info-dump “one-liners” because these exercises deal with basic, quick-fix, line items.
Change spoken explanation to physicality, (shrugs, eye rolls, wry smiles etc…) I myself am a big fan of using body language and expressions as conversation elements. It not only creates feeling, but also replaces a lot of expository speech.
Annoyance: eye roll, exhale, loud sigh, arm crossing, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, balled fists, etc.
Anger: clenched fists, ball in the jaw (love that for a guys), eyes narrowed, nostril flares, hands moving somewhere – neck, hair, etc…
It helps to think of your own gestures, or what we see in movies (cause they’re dramatic) when people are showing an emotion. The ancient Greeks used to have specific hand gestures to show emotion. They were the same for every play – and they did this to make sure those who couldn’t hear, way back in the nosebleed seats, could still follow the show. Well, we’re kinda doing that here, but in a more natural way… So what are our natural gestures to convey emotions – especially when we are speechless.
Exercise 1
Let’s say these two are friends, but the guy is about to ask her to be more than just friends.
“So I was thinking…” he began. He was obviously nervous and uncertain. His confidence gone.  
I was amused at his weirdness and worry, and waited for an answer.
If she’s feeling amused, what would she do to convey that? What would anyone do to show that? Something without speaking. I was thinking a bemused smile. Have you ever done that? A friend’s acting weird and you just look at them like they’re crazy…
Let’s tweak these sentences a bit:
“So I was thinking…” he began. He was obviously nervous and uncertain. His confidence gone.  
Could be :
“So I was thinking…” he said, looking down, his left leg jittering like he was on crack.
And:
I was amused at his weirdness and worry, and waited for an answer.
could instead be. . .
I waited, holding his gaze, and unable to control bemused smile that spread my lips.
Full Change:
“So I was thinking…” he said, looking down, his left leg jittering like he was on crack.
I waited, holding his gaze, and unable to control bemused smile that spread my lips.


Exercise 2
Scene on street between two friends. One has listened to the others petty problems for a very long time, and finally can’t any longer.
      “Janey, I can’t stand any more of your bull, I need a break.”
      “What?” Janey looked at me, really hurt by what I just said. But I didn’t care. I was sick of it, sick of her, and sick of all her crap.
      “What do you-”
      “Whatever,” I said cutting her off, not wanting to talk anymore, not wanting to explain myself. I turned and walked away, so I wouldn’t have to.
Okay, let’s start with Janey being hurt – how can we convey Janey’s hurt without saying she is hurt? How about we make her features cracking a bit.
Her face broke a little, the crease between her eyes deepening. “What?”
And now… how do we convey that the protag doesn’t care, doesn’t even want to explain? This is a harder action to work out. But again, rely on your own reactions.
Janey, I can’t stand any more of your bull, I need a break.”
Her face broke a little, the crease between her eyes deepening. “What?”
I felt so tired, sick even. I just couldn’t do this anymore.
“What do you-“
“Whatever,” I cut her off, shaking my head out of this conversation completely, then stalked away.
Just a quick note here… obviously these exercises are extreme – for exercise sake. Your whole novel doesn’t want to be a sequence of facial expressions that replace all language. But using these replacement wisely and even leaning towards them more than explanation, can create an energy within the pages of your novel. It’s action, It keeps the reader alert and imagining – working. Instead of simply being fed a story.


Exercise 3
The next example is more show me how your world works instead of telling me. It’s world based, and is just as important as character based. There are way too many sci-fi prologues out there that explain every detail of how a world works before we even get to the action. Start with action, your reader is smart, they’ll get it.
Angry, Deidre ran to her small space cruiser, the size of car, which would take her far away from here and well into space if she wanted. It was a spaceship after all. Most teens had them her on Zion. She got in, and put her thumb to the print-activated ignition scan button to turn on the small ship. At her touch it vibrated then jolted to life. She grabbed the wheel of the ship, then took the motor-boat like throttle in her hand, pulling back to the fastest position. She was an avid driver, and liked to go fast, so she wasn’t surprised at the lurch in her stomach when the ship took off into the atmosphere, heading towards space.
Okay, before we discuss, read this one in comparison.
Deidre jumped into the cruiser and slammed her thumb on the ignition button. The ship rumbled, then sparked to life, jolting her body forward before idling. She took the wheel and slammed the accelerator back at full throttle, feeling the comfy lurch in her stomach as the cruiser shot into the air towards the break in the horizon between sky and stars.
What do you like better?
I personally prefer two – I believe you should say what you need to say in as little words as possible… and actions help that.



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