Archive for the ‘EXPOSITION’ Category

From my many precious jewels of fiction quotations, I’ve selected a few that showcase different methods of doing exposition. Classic Infodump from omniscient POV Flat statement Ma KongQun suddenly let out a sigh and said, “You still can’t let go of that incident that happened twenty-three years ago at the base of Wudang Mountain?” –Gu […]


Today’s device…. the POV character commenting on another character’s unusual remark. Probably the most common way of using this is for the POV character to “explain away” the secondary character’s odd remark by making a philosophical claim. In Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, Mandela the POV character’s fellow soldier is wounded. A medic’s reaction is in quotes; […]


One of the things I keep learning as I write is how important it is not to mistake your own emotions for your readers’ emotions as they react to your story. Late in 2008, after what seemed like an unbelievable amount of planning & continuity problems, I finished a draft of a novel and went […]


Flip the Story

14Mar12

Yesterday at SpecTechnique we looked at cases when a cliche is deformed or expanded. When you’re going into a deformed cliche, you think you’ve seen this line before. Then when the cliche flips around on you, you’re taken by surprise. This is a technique writers can use to breach their readers’ defenses. Today we’re leaving […]


What if every speculative invention & gimmick you wrote, also came packaged with a reasonable explanation as to why it was possible? If you’re a hard science fiction writer, this probably sounds like an immense blessing. Say goodbye to worrying how you can make the physics work out. It’s now easy to think up second-order […]


Happy Monday, dear SpecTechnique readers. One of the reasons I enjoy reading 19th century novels (just like I enjoy reading old-school SF like E.E. “Doc” Smith & A.E. Van Vogt) is that I like seeing devices that have now fallen out of fashion. Because after that, I can try out ways to make ‘em new […]