Do you know how to write good exposition background?

And how to avoid info-dumping?

FYI, I’ve been working on my latest book for the past year and boy-howdy this has been a big issue for me.

Not sure what writing with good exposition is?

It’s like beautiful painting when done right. But done wrong, turns into ugly info-dumping.

Too much information in a story all at once drives me nuts. How to weave it in so the seamlessly so that the reader absorbs the information without distraction, now that takes a little talent and a lot of hard work.

So what is the difference between info-dumping and good exposition?

Bridget over at Now Novel (link below) just wrote a terrific blog post that gives us examples to live by. And for me, this couldn’t come at a better time. I just finished ripping about a thousand words from my WIP because it contained too much info.

What did I learn about writing “good exposition” from this post?

  1. With dialog, make it realistic.
    • Remember how people have conversations. No one dumps their family history all at once when they meet a stranger.
  2. Use to set up the history of a place.
    • I can use a characters’ present and their past or even future, to flesh out historical details of their lives. But it’s important to merge the description with the scene settings.
  3. Write descriptions with rich atmosphere.
  4. A character’s personality.
    • Peppering a scene showing glimpses of a character’s personality, development, fears, loves, hopes, etc. can make the character 3D.
  5. Open by describing puzzling, dramatic events before the novel begins.
    • Sowing curiosity, in the beginning, can develop a reader’s desire to search for an answer.

This is just a glimpse at the information Now Novel shares about avoiding info-dumping and writing with good exposition.

To read the entire post click on this link. 

Good exposition examples: Narrating your story’s background

My tip… 

  • Read, read and read some more. Read good books, bad books, newspapers and magazine articles. Because unlike TV, and movies these venues must engage the customer with words. Fake news is a good example. These writers paint such a vivid picture readers fall for the story.

Did it help you understand how to avoid info-dumping?

Do you have any tips to share that will help me write better descriptive scenes?

Tell me, how you insert information.

I love your comments, keep them coming.

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Another good post, keep reading!

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18 thoughts on “Do you know how to write good exposition background?

  1. I love to slip little histories in between two characters who are having a conversation. e.g. “Behave or I’ll tell her about the time I dressed you as a girl.” Laurence held his hands up. “I’ll behave, promise.” Fianna laughed. “Blue was so not your color.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good post Jean. This is what I love about writing- there are so many moving parts to account for and so many threads to weave in the tapestry. Would you say that info dumping is related to “show don’t tell”?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. hmmm- sometimes it may be useful, but many times the author is inserting back story or descriptions that may be important for the reader to know- but the author isn’t weaving it organically into the story- just dumping a jarring paragraph. Like I said, I love learning all of this!
        Thanks for you posting your feedback

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m reading a book, it’s in a different language, while the writer has a style of her own, she tends to write in too much detail. It has been a long time since I started it, it seems it’s a never ending story. The book is in seven parts, each part is too long. I’m not sure she’ll appreciate if I tell her to cut some things that are not necessary. I’m supposed to write a review of this novel, when I’m done. I wish you could help me in this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If the author ask for a review, be honest and kind. That’s the best a reader can do. If the author ask for you to be a beta/edit reader, again be kind but helpful. That’s the best advice I can give you.


      1. Thank you,
        She did ask for my advice. I was careful not to hurt her feelings, I wrote everything positive and also very gently asked her if some of it could be shortened.
        She said she appreciates my comment, so I’ve crossed this hurdle. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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