Tuesday, August 24, 2010
1. Trickle it in, bit by bit, as the story unfolds. Kinda a 'duh' but supposedly the best way to go about it. Of course, this can lead to the dreaded 'wtf is going on?!?' situation, but if done well, can work . (I'm apparently not subtle enough to pull this off--or so I think).
2. Suck it up and write a short-as-possible paragraph that explains things. Find some way to insert this into the story without being too obvious. Try to keep it in the voice of the character. Sometimes, it's just the only way to get everything across. (I, personally, prefer this. I want to know what's going on. Just tell me. Honestly. Get it out there, and get on with the story. I think I may be kinda alone on this kind of thinking though :)
3. Prologue. Um, ugh. All I can think of in this instance is some of the prologues in Tolkien that drag on for-EV-er. Don't get me wrong, I love Tolkien, but I honestly don't know why half the info in those prologues was there. I just don't care. In more modern books, I've seen this a lot--sometimes it works, sometimes I just skip it. Again, if done well, it can work.
4. Work it in with a conversation or thoughts, while not being too contrived. The book I'm reading now does this well--mainly because the character is introducing an outsider to his world. This works. But most of the time, I hate this method. Who, really, thinks about why they're wearing shoes/drive a car instead of a buggy/etc., in a world where whatever's normal? It's a really hard thing to get to work.
Anyhow, these are a few of the things I've seen. It really comes down to figuring what works best for the writer and the story, I think. And, quite frankly, if you can do it well, just about anything goes.
So, any ideas of other methods?