As promised, I’ve been working on my next book. I hit a bit of a rough patch where I wasn’t sure how much exposition to give. It’s a new thing for me because previously I’ve only known two different scenarios in my writing:
- Writing a section that is just really fun to write.
- Writing a section that I need to have, but am not enjoying and am just slogging through.
Needless to say, the things in category 1 are much better done than those in category 2. The latter inevitably end up needing to be revised.
But I reached a point in my new book that was really neither. I felt like I could go either way on this section; I could linger a bit and give some more atmospheric exposition, or I could just say what I needed to say and move along to the next part. I’m torn about how to go–part of me wants to move on, and I have read advice for writers that says not to put in unnecessary stuff.
On the other hand, I think (and have been told by multiple readers) that my earlier stories fell into the trap of moving too quickly and not lingering enough on certain things to set the scene. So I am inclined to spend more time on stage-setting than I ordinarily would, to try to correct for this tendency.
One thing this forces me to do is really picture the scene in my mind. This is harder than you would think. In the past when I have written stuff, I have had a general sketch in mind, but nothing too detailed. This caused me to try and get away with saying some pretty vague stuff. This way, I’ll now have a more firm idea in mind, and can communicate it better to the readers.
The scene I’m currently writing is also important because (not to give too much away) it is setting up a location that the protagonist will return to later, where the majority of the action in the story will take place. So it’s a good opportunity for some foreshadowing, and I don’t want to miss out on that.