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bensen-daniel's avatar
Daniel Bensen sat at his computer, the culmination of nearly two hundred years of automated problem-solving machinery, which had recently (in the last 25 years) undergone exponential growth in complexity, sophistication, market penetration, and transformative effect on human society.  He was writing a new journal entry in deviant art, one of the literally millions of forums of self-expression made possible by the computerized communications network of the World Wide Web.  Sitting in the living room of his third floor apartment in Sofia, Bulgaria, his six foot four inch frame bent over his wireless keyboard as he attempted to ignore the half-intelligible Bulgarian news broadcast his fiancee and mother in law had inconsiderately left on, he could annoy people around the world with a torrent of exposition.

Yes, after harshing MOAI's vibe (m0ai.deviantart.com/art/A-Meet…) with my anti-exposition rant, I have been thinking about the art, the poetry, the soul that is exposition, and how useful it might be.

So, for those of you who are too lazy to read my thoughts on the subject (and MOAI's too, or at least he is gentlemanly enough to pretend to agree with me), I am a devotee of the show-don't-tell school of storytelling.  The reason is that most of your readers will be smarter than you are, and if you let them make up their own story, it will be much cooler than the one you're thinking of (Stephen King's books make great examples.  In my mind, the Tommyknockers was a beautiful look at medical nanotechnology and uploaded intelligence, twenty years ahead of its time).  Also, I don't very much like it when I get the impression that the writer is telling the story to themself---you're the damn writer, aren't you?  Shouldn't you know what's going to happen?

So why do people write expositions?  Because they're fun to write.  Damn fun!  MOAI clearly loved describing the peculiar religious practices of the Kahoons, and a few times it's clear he had great new ideas while he was writing.  In any case, that certainly happens to me, and I love the sensation.  For example, there I was in the middle of telling him how bad it was to make expositions, and I realized how useful a process it might be.

Just the process of putting everything down in text makes ideas clearer and often leads you in a new direction as more applications of your basic principles start to evolve out of the explanation.  And add that to the fact that people (smart people, people who know stuff I don't) might read these ideas and comment on them!  Wow!  

Evolving the worlds of Maastrichtian(bensen-daniel.deviantart.com/a…)  and the Martian Invasion (bensen-daniel.deviantart.com/j…) has been an enormous blast (by the way, let me know if you want to see all of the discussions about these worlds collated in one place).  And I want to do it some more.

So.  I've been holding this one close to my chest for a while, but I'm going to start...expos...ing?  my big fiction project, Kingdoms of Evil.  I started here with one of the minor characters (bensen-daniel.deviantart.com/a…), but I'm going to go back and put some expositions into the comments on the characters I've already drawn.  And hopefully as I illustrate the other characters, I'll expose them too.  And you guys will comment on them, and I will comment on your illustrations and ideas.  And we will all become STRONGER!
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Sphenacodon's avatar
Word. This is concentrated brilliance.