Using Dialogue For Exposition

I have to admit this is one of those days that I don’t feel like writing. Yes I have them too. Lately I’ve been putting more emphasis on providing information and less on me and my journey. I need to find a good balance. My main objective however is to provide useful information.  Things I wish I had known before I got started.

One last blog on dialogue for now anyways. Dialogue can also be used for exposition. Exposition is a literary device used to introduce background information about events, settings, characters etc. to the audience or reader. It is crucial to any story.  Without it nothing makes sense.

Using dialogue for backstory can be tricky.  It works well if you are interjecting small amounts into a conversation, but if you are trying to provide to much information during the conversation, it could cause the story to come to a complete stop. You will have action, stop for conversation and set up, and then action again. Nothing seamless about it.

There are three ways to provide exposition without using dialogue.

  • Provide the information directly. This does violate the show don’t tell rule but sometimes it is necessary.
  • Provide information through a first person narrative.
  • Use indirect dialogue-Provide a summary of what a character has said without using the persons exact words.

Remember that dialogue is not a separate entity from the rest of the story but an integral part that works with everything else to make the story seamless.

-Jan R

Using Dialogue For Exposition

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