Exposition and Notes

So I’ve written a bunch of expository chapters recently, Chapter 2 of Gigas’ Tale, and Chapters 1 and 2 of the epic. I’m not very good at expository writing, or at least, I don’t like it. I didn’t even do my normal editing process on chapter 2 of the epic.  My editing process, by the way, is to read through the entire story, to myself, aloud. It catches typos and awkward sentences, and lets me review what I’ve just written. But I need to take a step back from the exposition, and I couldn’t bring myself to edit the forest scene.

As a self-critic, I would like to make a few notes on what I’ve already written, especially the first two chapters (not counting the prologue) of the epic. Both chapters are written not objectively, but from a heavy point of view. The story told by King Thobis, in particular, was biased and inaccurate, although the full extent of this remains to be seen. I do enjoy unreliable narration, although I like to give some hint that it’s going on. It gives the impression that the characters view the world through different lenses, and even with different facts. Some of the mistakes in Thobis’ story are misinterpretations of the facts, or mistakes passed down through history. The idea, for example, that the King’s best friend would march into the throne room and demand half the kingdom is not very believable. It sounds more mythical than realistic, and in fact it’s not quite what happened. Other errors in the story are deliberate half-truths introduced by the Magnolium Order, especially the tale of its own origin. It started as nothing more but the weakest of the various street gangs, fighting for turf. And one particular claim is actually a mathematical error: Each king has not, in fact, died younger than his father did. The historians who have been publishing that fact have been fudging the numbers in order to make that sensational claim!

In chapter 2, there are very few outright untruths, but Prince Romm does have his own take on the world. He is a teenager, of course, and his relationship with his single father is not good. Part of that is teenage rebelliousness compounded by political disagreement, but part of it is a lingering reaction to what his father did to that girl. The same goes for his relationship with Cardinal Alabaster. He had liked both men a great deal when he was 7, but after that day, something changed, and he wanted nothing more to do with either.

I don’t think I conveyed this very well, but Romm’s inability to find a wife is also mostly due to his bad relationship with his father. It’s not intended to be a “rebellious princess” type of thing, where he refuses all comers because of a desire for independence. For one thing, as the man, he is supposed to come to them! It’s more the following thought process: “Anyone my father likes must be no good.” It’s not spite, therefore, it’s mistrust at an almost subconscious level: Romm doesn’t even realize he’s coming up with objections to justify his disapproval of anyone, or in fact anything, his father likes. Apart from that, there are no inaccuracies in what Romm is thinking that I’m willing to reveal.

On the one hand, therefore, I hate writing exposition. On the other hand, I like writing exposition when it’s full of lies. It makes me feel like I’ve got a fuller world, when the characters who live there have differing viewpoints on it.

Coming soon: Prince Romm runs away! Gigas the Halfling vs. Cloud Giants!


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