Purposeful exposition = crap

I've said all I need to say, laid out the bones and signposts. The reader already knows where I'm going in the rest of the piece. This would be a good place to stop, then, no? Why fill up another page with expository throat clearing? Why not just dive right into the meat of the piece?

Because the editor views it as skimpy. Be complete and precise, even if it means loading up the opening with a bunch of stuff that everyone is going to skip over.

You know what? Screw it.

If it bores me to write it, then what are the odds that anyone is going to read it?

"She slipped the gun back into his holster. Now that the last four rounds in the clip were blanks, the cop wouldn't kill the kid in the firefight this afternoon, and Earth would be united when the invasion came, 120 years hence."

I'm not going to tell the audience much anymore. Let them work for understanding. Screw it.


  1. I have the "10 Commandments for a Story" taped up in my office. Number 10 reads, "Don't write anything you wouldn't want to read." So I very much agree with you there.

    I would caution, at least based on my early fledging attempt at story-telling, that sometimes you know enough more about the story that what is obvious to you goes *wooshing* over the readers' head.

    There's just a fine line there between respecting the readers intellect and frustrating them. There are already enough pretentious authors out there, I worry sometimes about unwittingly joining their ranks.

  2. Respecting the reader's intelligence and perspicacity is pretty important. However, a confused reader will not necessarily keep reading.

    As a beginner, I worry that what I write will not be compelling enough to keep a reader's attention anyway, so I tend to err on the side of caution and spell things out.

    Self-defeating, no?

  3. I've read enough of your stuff to know that interest is not the problem;-) You definitely keep me wanting to find out what happens to your characters. Indeed, since so much of what I've read is snippets, its a bit frustrating. Characters come in, chat for awhile, and just as the evening is getting good, they get a call and leave. So, I am very much looking forward to more of your finished stories;-)


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