Exposition and Lost Ponderings


One of the fun challenges with fantasy fiction is how to get all the necessary world information without turning chapters into boring walls of exposition.  This task gets even more interesting if the characters and the inhabitants of that world in large have incorrect or incomplete ideas they think of as true of their own universe.  At that point you have to find a way to relay what people think about the world, but not back yourself into a corner so that when you show more of what is going on it is obvious there is not ret conning going on.

I am writing the second book now, and certain characters are starting down a path that will reveal the truth behind things they did not even think to explore (ie this is not about the religion or prophecies) the veracity of.  I am trying to find a way to make these revelations obvious that it was the truth the whole time, but still feel natural from the events and the characters, and not make it seem that this was just a way to cover up inconsistence’s for the internal “world logic.”  I did plant plot seeds to help with this, but it is still a challenging task.

It is important to the overall plot that some of this is revealed to the characters, but I wonder how much is necessary for the characters to know, and how much the readers even want to know. Some people like to see fantasy epics as a tapestry for characters to exist on and stories to be told in, and do not care too much about underlying mechanics or how everything happens in that world.  Other people see the mechanics such as the magic systems, the creatures that live there, and unique things about the world to be just as important as the plot and characters themselves.  These readers prefer if not for everything to be spelled out at least enough information to be given that everyone can draw logical conclusions themselves as to how it all works.

Think of the end of LOST (possible mild spoilers if you have not seen it all yet).  About the half the viewers were fine with the end, and found that the characters arcs were all wrapped up in a satisfying matter, and closure was given to the characters and their drives.  Others hated it, feeling that their many questions about the world and why things happened were never answered at all.

This all leads me to a question I was pondering the other day, and my poll today:

Do you prefer the focus to be on the characters and their personal stories, or have all the questions about the world itself answered?

1)I want the focus on the characters and their stories, I don’t need the in depth details of everything about the world explained.

2)I like characters and stories, but please find a way to answer any major questions or what appear to be inconsistencies to me, or I am not going to be satisfied with an ending.

As for updates on the books themselves:

Fall of House Nemeni is basically moving at the same rate it does normally, minus special events (first few days released, promos, etc).  Although the free promo day was fantastic, I am not definite long term whether going exclusive for Amazon was the best choice but we will only know once I release it on other platforms in Late August.

The second book in that series is started, and currently going on the right pace to make the total time to create it (both editing and writing) be roughly nine months.

The release of the newly edited older work will have at least three editors.  The first editor is 20% or so through it, and when finished I will hand to the next editor after doing suggested re writes.

Also many of my ideas are generated from comments or private mail, so let me know if you have questions or anything to say.  I know several people are in the process of reading the book, so even if not finished your feedback helps (one such conversation prompted this blog)!

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About mdkenning

E-book clockpunk fantasy author View all posts by mdkenning

2 responses to “Exposition and Lost Ponderings

  • amkenning

    I don’t mind a LOST style ending, but I’m also not a super close mystery style reader. You can leave things open ended and unexplained and if the characters are wrapped up I’ll be happy….but don’t expect me to try to solve mysteries myself. I won’t do it much. 😉

  • supercraftifragilistic

    I’m totally with Aryn. I don’t tend to think too deeply about what I’m reading/watching, I just go along with it. I appreciate your LOST example, because even though I watched it pretty much straight through on hulu after it was over (not waiting for an episode each week), I didn’t particularly notice how many plots and details weren’t clearly explained. It just needs to make sense overall and have the main plots wrapped up.

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