Posted Saturday, May 11th 2013 @ 23:26

Graphic Novel Update!

What else naturally goes in the front end of any story? Exposition! "What's that?" my dog often asks, and I read the first sentence of wikipedia to him very plainly:

"The exposition is the portion of a story that introduces important background information to the audience; for example, information about the setting, events occurring before the main plot, characters' back stories, etc."

Now there are several ways writers do this. Some exposition methods work wonderfully, some are boring and make me want to read wikipedia to my dog. I don't think it's too complex. As long as the world of the story is clear, the chessboard is set, the world will come through.

Consider a scene involving our hero, a teenager, trying to join the group of men leaving to raid another camp. We want to inform the reader as much about our world as we can, while still moving things forward. (Things that move forward include character developments as well as plot developments). Why not have a stranger in the camp, and an older camp member explaining to the stranger all that is happening? Well I'll tell you why. It's boring. It's telling when one could be showing. Anything that old man can explain to the stranger can be communicated through some form of showing.

In this setting, men leaving for a raid, we can squeeze many questions out that any random man leaving for the raid might ask. Why raid these people instead of those? Whomever is leading the raid must now justify his decision to the group, and in doing so our exposition can occur. Well, that leader may say, the people I want to go kill and steal from our a greater threat to us than those people you want to go kill and steal from, because those people haven't converted to the neighboring Empire's religion and received their help.

"That's the chief. No one goes against his will or he will crush them."
This can be shown so many ways through an action of a character that opposes the will of the chief and said chief issues punitive judgment. As humans, our minds are very adept at filling in the social gaps. It's so much better to see the chief in action than to have a character just tell the audience what we want them to know. Information must be communicated through the story for it to register in the subconscious and not just the conscious. A good story must engage both to connect with it's audience.

Part of our setup will include such a scene, and in future posts I will work through it and compare and contrast the two basic methods of exposition: showing and telling.