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Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Little Advice?

Hello, cyber friends.  I need your advice.

One of my critical readers mentioned that she finds my alternate reality a little difficult to swallow.  That's fair.  The problem is how to explain it.

You see, this alternate reality takes place in the "modern" US, but it's not so modern.  I've got 1000 years of history—not all of which has to be explained, I would say, or not up front—of royal history going back to the days of King Arthur, and a schism in the British royal family that eventually leads to one half taking over in the "new colonies".  I'm not changing a whole lot of the real history (the civil war is pretty feasible; the revolution against the monarchy), but I have to somehow weave this rather huge and important fact into the first couple of chapters.

So, the question is, do I:

A. Throw in general expository information (*yawn*)?

B. Have my main character studying for an exam and reading a textbook (this is where the reader puts down the book or just sets it on fire)?

C. Let my main character et al have a study session for said exam (icky expository dialogue!)?

D. Dear spirits on high, please tell me you have some better suggestions for me?

Thank you for reading this choose your own adventure post.  If you selected A, please turn to page 52.  If you selected B, please turn to page 124.  If you selected C, please shut your computer and never query again.  If you selected D, THANK YOU!

6 comments:

Rory said...

I really like B, I have to say...and don't bother yourself TOO much about clunky exposition. One, yours won't be too clunky and two, it's a mainstay of the genre. And young readers aren't as snobby about it. Good luck, friend! I really admire how much you've been blogging lately (and how full and reflective your posts are).

Maria said...

I like B or C.

Alexandra Shostak said...

First off I just have to say that alternate reality sounds really cool!

My suggestion is to do whatever it is most natural for your mc to be doing: like, is your mc likely to be talking about it or studying it? Thinking about it? Watching a TV program about it? Have posters all over her/his walls? Info-dumping necessary information is always tricky. Is there any chance that you don't weave every bit of it in all at once? You said you've got to do it in the first couple of chapters--so maybe weave a little bit into chapter one with dumpy dialogue, then a bit more into chapter two with taking that exam or something, and then a bit more in chapter three when your main character's memory gets triggered? (You don't have to use my examples.)

Good luck, and really great questions! :)

Talli Roland said...

I'd go with A. As boring as general exposition is, sometimes I think it's better than clunkier scenes that are there just because you need to impart the info. Just my opinion though! Good luck!

DEZMOND said...

oh, I must say I love the plot, alternative history and reality were always my cup of tea ;) I vote for B.

Amanda Sablan said...

Perhaps you could combine expository info with flashback action?

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