More feedback, and I have noticed an interesting trend.
I have, or had anyway, a tendency to use a lot of exposition. There’s a lot going on in my world, I’m proud of it, and of course I love to talk (or write) about it. I’ve already written that I want my exposition to be natural, to flow. I hate it when it feels like a textbook or like I’m beating the reader over the head with information.
That said, my solution was to censor myself. I knew that it could get out of hand and I wanted to write a novel, not an essay. I have been very mindful of talking heads, awkward dialogue for the sole purpose of explaining things, or anything that seemed unnatural. Overall, I think I was successful.
Maybe too successful.
I spent a good part of last night explaining to my beta readers why things happened, what they meant, or why it was significant. They liked the story, especially once I explained certain details, it’s just that those details aren’t in the story itself. It’s creator complex. I know the world so well that even without censoring myself, I sometimes overlook certain details. There were several details I thought were in there and in going back, realized I hadn’t even mentioned. Some had been cut, some I had just assumed the reader would gleam.
You know what they say about assuming.
Part of this weekend has actually been going back and looking at places where I had opportunities for my character to have a believable conversation about a topic. A few I meant to come back to and never did. Others I had held back because I didn’t want to give the information at that time or in that way and never did later. I think it goes along way in not only building my world, but creating more interaction between characters.
And part of the reason this is important is that I want my reader to go in with a certain perspective. It’s a magic trick and I want the reader’s attention in certain places, with certain information, at certain times. It’s all part of, not only explaining basic facts about my world, but setting the mood. It ties into motivations of the characters and their development.
Part of my mistake was telling my wife the details of my world prior to giving her the manuscript. I’ve talked to her for years as I set this up. I thought she woulnd’t remember that much, but she did. She didn’t realize those details weren’t in their either because it was information she knew. That’s not something I can do with a reader, and it shouldn’t be. In talking with my mom I realized that certain details weren’t there and my wife could confirm it.
So, lesson of the day, be aware of what you reader knows about your world. An interesting world is, much like our own, complicated and making the reader understand its intricacies is essential. Don’t be afraid to talk about the world, and remember above all, anything can be changed or rewritten. You really shouldn’t be afraid of anything.