Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What is Too Much Exposition?

Going kind of short and sweet this go....

As I already mentioned over on Writers’ Huddle, this week has been a sort of two steps forward, one step back sort of situation. We actually had some customer flow this past week; the store brought in a record breaking amount! Whoo! The down side is that I was left with virtually no time to write while at work. The other sad part is that I've re-adapted my writing so that I pretty much write exclusively at work, and then spend out-of-work hours socializing, gaming, and cleaning the apartment.

No down time at work meant no time to write. But here comes the real rub about this whole thing. I DID find time to write. I added close to eleven pages to my "Glitches" comic hybrid-script project. Not the 3-a-day; 21-per-week goal I set for myself, which is apparently super lofty, but still a decent amount of writing.

Then I looked over it.

It was a complete info-dump. I was saying to the reader, "Here. I figured all this out about my world-build, and I must share it with you right now! No, it's not entertaining to read it like this. No, you don't need all this information right now; it can be slowly introduced later via dialogue. No, some of this is actually just info that I need to know, not you. Still, I came up with it, so you get to read it right now before I forget!"

Not. Good.

I've been researching world-build expositions lately, and I'm giving WAAAAAY too much info. I know I should wait until the Writers' Huddle summer writing challenge is over at least before I take the razor to my work. On the other hand, I'm trying to read this WIP at Writers' Group, and I don't want them to focus on things I know I did wrong - the info dump - instead of helping me figure out things I DIDN'T notice I did wrong. So, I caved. I went back and chopped. I'm nowhere near the eleven pages I had at the end of the week. I'm now at a net-gain of about five. Still progress, but not nearly as much as I would have liked.

As for the reading challenge, I still don't have an email from the library telling me Sandy's book is back for me to check out. Which means I'm still struggling to figure out what other category I can squeeze into just a week or so of reading. Between my birthday, my family possibly trying to visit for said birthday, visiting my nephew for his first birthday, Spink's bachelorette party, and Spink's wedding, a week is virtually all the time I have left in July.

As for the book I did borrow from the library two weeks ago, well, it's due back today, and so I tore through the second half of it yesterday!

I was doing good. One chapter a day. Then I hit the CRAZY WEEK OF PEOPLE ACTUALLY SHOWING UP AND BUYING THINGS!!!! I'd be a bit more excited if I was one of the sales associates that got a $10,000 sale or whatever; that's a nice paycheck. I did well this past week, don't get me wrong, but not well enough to stop me from being bummed about my lack of writing and reading time.... Weird that I can say that about my job.....

Anyway, I could barely even break the book open last week, and I thought it silly to renew such a tiny book. So, since the customers were back to lacking yesterday, I ignored writing for a day and just tore through the rest of the book. There's definitely some great insight in it. Part of me wants to write a blog post about it, but another part of me knows that I'd want to share as much info as I can with you guys, and so I'd essentially make reading/buying "The Write Type" by Karen E. Peterson, Ph.D. unnecessary.

I will state that, while you can tell she's a psychologist by trade, her insights are helpful. I found a lot of passages I wanted to pass along to my fellow writer friends. While I don't personally think I'll go out and buy this book for a few re-reads, since apparently I'm more focused and ready to be a writer than I thought, I do recommend it to anyone even THINKING about writing, even if it's for your own enjoyment with no intention of publication. ESPECIALLY those who don't intend on ever publishing their work. Because those writers fancy themselves "hobbyists" and therefore push their writing so far on the back burner that it's actually on the countertop on the other side of the kitchen. This book will help you re-focus how important your writing truly is to you, and how to balance it within your crazy life without disrupting the other Jenga pieces you have piled up.

Me? Well, I like to think I have this whole "writing in the foreground" thing more-or-less figured out; still some kinks, like "what happens when I'm actually busy at work?", to iron out, but otherwise, I'm good. So, I'll be grateful for the few new insights I found in this book, I'll pass on the knowledge I learned to some friends I think really need to hear it, and I'll figure out what novel I'm reading for this month.

I'll also study more world-build exposition in comics, movie openings, and video games to try to narrow down what parts the readers need to know in general, unknown narrator, over-sweeping exposition, and which parts can be slowly brought in throughout the course of the story.

Here's hoping I have something I'm a bit more happy with when I go to group next week....

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