#87 - To Expose or Not to Expose

That is the question.

And, no, I'm not talking about how graphic I should make my make-out scenes. (Although I do wonder about that sometimes.) ;o) No, I'm talking about exposition.

Part of why I hate my first draft so badly is because it feels so incredibly flat. The books I most love reading are very rich in description, but I feel like my writing has little to none.

Part of the problem, I think is that I've had it pounded into my head at so many conferences and workshops and, yes, even critique group meetings -- it being, "get right into the scene, don't stop to describe anything, keep it fast-paced or they'll put your book down and never pick it up again."

But part of it, I fear, is that I just can't really do it very well. It's easier to just stick to the action, the dialogue, the quick sentence that gives a rough description of someone or something before zipping back into the scene and taking off again. Not that I'm really very good at any of that, either, mind you.

Le sigh.

I just remembered an idea I got from one of my writing friends recently. I'm going to take some of the books I've really liked and use different colored highlighters to visually see how much dialogue vs. exposition there is throughout the books. One color could be "setting," another one "character description," etc. Then when I go through my own book, I can see how the flow of my writing matches up with those.

These are all just thoughts for future reference, though. Because right now, I have a first draft to write. Speaking of which, I'm doing AWESOME. Ever since a whole one day ago when I renewed my dedication and changed my goal to match what I need to do from here through the rest of the month, I've been on fire. I refused to put my computer away last night and go to bed until I'd passed my new 1612 word goal for the day, even though it was late. Like, to the point that some people would consider it early. For the next day. To get up.

So, here I am, 1/3 of the way to meeting my goal for Saturday's wordcount, taking time off of writing to whine about how crappy this dumb first draft is. But, I'm taking a breath and going back in now because, really, the point is just to write the dumb thing. I'll come back and expose to my heart's content later.


  1. I'm so happy for you that you're writing! What a great idea that is about the highlighters. I may have to give it a try myself!

  2. I like the idea of the colors for different things in published novels. Great idea!

  3. I am totally with you on this one too (you and I should form our own little writer support group ;)) - I get so worried that my writing is totally flat. I have to tell myself over and over that it's just a first draft and that I need to get it all out first. But still, I worry. One other thing - about the make-out scene thing: how do you write kissing well anyway? I've got a part coming up and I feel stumped. I'm afraid it's going to get all Twilighty. Anyway, I love your blog - nice to not feel alone in my frustrations. Le sigh...


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