Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rule #1

During the Mad Anthony Writer's Conference, I attended a workshop on "Managing Exposition." (Exposition: all the necessary factual information in a work of fiction including setting, character descriptions and backstories, flashbacks, summaries and processes.)

During the session, we had a brief writing exercise. We had 5 minutes to write a passage that explained a rule, without using too much exposition. Here was my submission.

"Ginny? Come on in."

Karen stepped aside as Ginny cross the threshold, lugging a garbage bag and a pillow with her. She stepped tentatively inside the door as the police cruiser crunched across the gravel parking lot. Karen waved the officer away, then dead bolted the door.

"I'll take you to your room in just a minute," she told Ginny as she removed the garbage bag from her hand and set it near a small table in the foyer. "But first I need you to sign this confidentiality agreement."

"What is it?" Ginny asked with a hint of suspicion in her voice.

"It just says that you will not disclose the location of the shelter or any details about it or the people in it. If you do, you'll be asked to leave."

A defiant look flittered across Ginny's face. Karen had seen that look before; Ginny wouldn't like following the rules.

"I'm not gonna tell anybody," she said dismissively. "Give me a pen."


  1. Interesting! I really enjoyed reading this.

    Recently I finished a friends book, and we were talking about the plot, and how I thought some of the things were kinda obvious at the end. He was telling me that no one else seemed to think so, at the end we finally realized why I got things that other people missed...apparently the average reader misses exposition.

  2. Hahahaa... when I read the title on my Blog Roll, I thought you were talking about The Doctor from Dr Who; where Rule #1 is: 'The Doctor always lies'.