How To: Exposition and Description

This month we’re on writing craft, and specifically exposition and description. Exposition and description is one of my favourite parts of writing, its my chance to reel in the reader into my world, show them the world of my characters and drop clues to the plot twists along the way.

Exposition in the writing sense is where you insert background information within the story – for example, giving background information on a character’s looks or information about the world.

Description is where you are using the words to transmit a mental image into the mind of your reader.

In some ways, exposition and description is the backbone of your story. Sure, worldbuilding will give the background colours, and characters will give you the hook to keep your readers engaged. But exposition and description are the tools by which you deliver the story to your reader.

They are the tools you use to allow the reader to create their own mental image of your world in their mind. Each tool plays of the other – you can’t have exposition without an element of description, and you can’t insert description into your narrative without using some exposition.

This month in my writing advice newsletter, Writing on Caffeine, I’ll take a detailed look at:

  • What description and exposition does in your story
  • How to use these tools, depending on factors such as the draft you’re working on, what type of scene you’re writing and the stage of the story you’re at.
  • Top tips to use in your own writing.

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Featured Image Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash



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