8 Exposition Examples to Add Life to Your Writing (+ Definition)

Exposition examples invite your viewers to a spot they’ve not but traveled to:

An insider’s view.

Like packing for a visit with simply the correct quantity of baggage, exposition provides your viewers simply sufficient info to maintain them curious and eager for extra.

And in the event you give your viewers simply what they should decipher a narrative with out making a gift of the plot, you’ll have keen members ready for the following clue.

So let’s dive into this literary gadget with examples and the whole obtain of why your story wants an exposition.

exposition examples creating the background

What’s Exposition?

An exposition is a literary gadget that units up a narrative with background info. 

Divulging exposition earlier than the rising motion begins permits the viewers to realize perspective on the characters, the setting, essential events, or traditionally important occasions.

An exposition helps your viewers emotionally spend money on the historical past that prompted the narrative. This entices them to learn additional and permits them to hook up with the story with a extra profound understanding.

So simple as this may increasingly sound, there’s an artwork to exposition since you don’t need to give away an excessive amount of of the backstory. Doing so, finally dangers the lack of your viewers’s consideration or bores them to tears.  

Nevertheless, too little info creates confusion and provides frustration which will have your readers calling it quits.

Why You Need to Use Exposition in Your Writing

Exposition provides the context to your story. With out it, your readers are misplaced.

Are you able to think about wanting to attach along with your brother by asking him how his day went, and he tells you he’s consuming a salami sandwich? 

Wait, what? 

What does consuming a salami sandwich proper now should do along with his day?

And that is what exposition does; it provides sufficient background info to know what’s occurring and really feel related to the character. 

Exposition is the backstory or the setup. 

Positive, you may skip exposition in some inventive writing, like poetry.

Nevertheless it’s an important literary gadget in performs, novels, films, mysteries, and thrillers.

Audiences love creating connections to characters with wishes, fears, and challenges as a result of they’re character-driven. 

The 5 Sorts of Exposition Defined

Let’s have a look at the 5 methods you need to use exposition in your tales.

  • Description — giving an entire clarification of the subject, with proof, examples, and background historical past. This connects the reader to the purpose of origin. 
  • Comparability — evaluating two matters collectively provides context to the present story. Issues, like non secular beliefs, will be conceptual or extra concrete, like residing in New York versus Australia.
  • Trigger and Impact — displaying how previous occasions change into the supply of the character’s present behaviors. For instance, poor well being is a by-product of low earnings, the place well being is struggling as a consequence of insufficient funds to afford more healthy meals. 
  • Downside and Resolution — explains an issue and affords a viable answer. For instance, making recent meals accessible to low-income households to raised their well being.
  • Sequence — that is primarily used to explain a course of, like detailing the manufacturing steps to make a crayon. Nevertheless, you can even use sequence for example a timeline of occasions to point out backstory.

Tips on how to Use Exposition Successfully

exposition examples once upon a time

Utilizing exposition successfully is at all times about dancing that effective line between an excessive amount of and never sufficient info.

Usually a strategic selection, your exposition ought to do two issues; pull the reader in sufficient to really feel like they’ve contextual background and understanding of the backstory, and gaging by the kind of story (fiction vs. non-fiction) what the suitable quantity of knowledge wanted is.

And in the event you’re establishing the story in an unfamiliar location to the reader, corresponding to fantasy, sci-fi, or historic fiction, then remember to embrace sufficient context to information a agency understanding of the expertise on this overseas actuality.

Direct vs. Oblique Exposition

Let’s discover the 2 methods exposition can specific itself in your tales.

When delivered by narration or dialogue, direct exposition pauses the story to tell the reader of some very important info — typically seen in basic faerie tales and literature.

Direct exposition instance:

The Emperor’s New Garments

“A useless emperor employed two folks to make him some new garments. They tricked him, telling him the fabric was not seen to folks unfit for his place or who have been very silly. At first, the folks pretended to see the garments, however a baby says that he’s not sporting garments and other people begin to agree. The emperor realized he was swindled however continued the parade anyway.”

Oblique exposition by narrative or dialogue provides readers clues with out telling them what they need to be feeling.

Oblique exposition instance:

Crimson Driving Hood

exposition examples red riding hood

“The morning solar was simply reaching the guidelines of the fir timber as Little Crimson Driving Hood left her mom’s cottage. She adjusted the load of the basket on her arm, ensuring that the treats for her grandmother have been secure, and began off down the trail by the woods. Lengthy shadows reached out to her.”

The backstory right here is gently woven by the story’s motion, making a extra intimate really feel for the reader.

To sum it up, direct exposition tells you precisely what is going on and oblique exposition paints an image of what’s occurring with out saying it instantly.

Methods to Embrace Exposition in Your Writing

Try the next exposition examples that show 4 methods to combine expository writing into your tales.

Narrative Exposition

Narrative exposition occurs all through the complete story. It’s within the languaging you utilize, the feelings your characters are led to, and the rising actions that happen. 

You’ll be able to interject backstories all through the story to realize extra perception into a personality’s emotions, like explaining reminiscences that get triggered as they transfer by particular occasions or providing unanswered questions left for the reader to guess.

For instance, you may present your fundamental character leaving a blind date that has them feeling uneasy as they keep in mind their first date with their ex — giving context to their habits in the course of the date (oblique exposition).

Dialogue Exposition

Dialogue helps to seize the dialog between two or extra characters. By way of dialogue, you may convey backstory — one character informing one other character or discovering one thing new collectively.

Your fundamental character is leaving the blind date, and so they say to the uber driver choosing them up that this blind date felt like deja vu as a result of it was an identical restaurant reminding her of the primary place she met her ex (direct exposition).

Inside Monologue Exposition

An inner monologue captures the dialog somebody has of their head relating to present or previous occasions.

The change will probably be a part of the narrative when the dialogue is within the first particular person. And when the chat is within the third particular person, the character’s interior voice will probably be a definite a part of the story.

Within the blind date story, the principle character says to herself, “I keep in mind how I ate pasta on my first date with my ex and the way unsettled my abdomen was after consuming, inflicting me to query the meals and the date” (direct and oblique exposition).

Flashback Exposition

Flashback exposition is inserting backstory info to provide context to a present occasion unfolding within the story.

It may occur anytime within the story and is commonly triggered by one thing sensory — particular sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures.

Recollections are strongly related to sensory enter making it an ideal time to conjure reminiscence by way of a logical exposition.

Again to the blind date instance; as she places her fork full of garlicky pasta into her mouth, she returns to the primary time she met her ex — conjuring emotions of uncertainty. 

The “Present, Don’t Inform” Idea Defined

exposition examples show dont tell

New writers typically hear the recommendation that claims, “Present, Don’t Inform,” that means you don’t need to inform the reader particular particulars or what they need to really feel. You need to describe and allow them to come to their very own conclusion.

Explaining sensory particulars or “telling” the reader what’s occurring robs them from forming their very own opinions and might dumb down the content material — rendering it much less interesting to learn or watch.

However, whenever you depart an excessive amount of to the reader to imagine, you may lose management of the story’s plot factors and create confusion.

And for this reason the idea of “present, don’t inform” is strongly debated.

The proper method to make use of story exposition is about giving simply sufficient background info with out alienating your viewers — you need to create connection and sufficient intrigue to compel your viewers to interact frequently with the story.

Exposition Examples in Literature

Storytelling contains the majority of literature, that means you’ll possible see many exposition examples.

We’ve picked out 4 examples to focus on using this literary gadget in standard literature.

The Nice Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I consider that on the primary evening I went to Gatsby’s home I used to be one of many few friends who had really been invited. Folks weren’t invited — they went there. They acquired into vehicles which bore them out to Lengthy Island, and by some means they ended up at Gatsby’s door. As soon as there they have been launched by any person who knew Gatsby, and after that they performed themselves in line with the principles of behaviour related to an amusement park. Generally they got here and went with out having met Gatsby in any respect, got here for the get together with a simplicity of coronary heart that was its personal ticket of admission.”

Serving as a private memoir of his experiences with Gatsby in the summertime of 1922, Nick Carraway is the proper character to relate this story. Along with being Gatsby’s neighbor that summer time, he’s additionally a cousin to Gatsby’s love curiosity, Daisy.

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fireplace by J.Ok. Rowling

“Harry had been a 12 months outdated the evening that Voldemort — probably the most highly effective Darkish wizard for a century, a wizard who had been gaining energy steadily for eleven years — arrived at his home and killed his father and mom. Voldemort had then turned his wand on Harry; he had carried out the curse that had disposed of many full-grown witches and wizards in his regular rise to energy — and, extremely, it had not labored.”

The Goblet of Fireplace is the fourth ebook within the wildly profitable seven-part collection of the wizarding world of Harry Potter. J.Ok. Rowling’s problem was protecting current readers engaged with out boring them whereas catching up with the brand new readers with essential backstories on Harry’s core battle.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Three Rings for the Elven-kings beneath the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords of their halls of stone,

9 for Mortal Males doomed to die,

One for the Darkish Lord on his darkish throne

Within the Land of Mordor the place the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule all of them, One Ring to search out them,

One Ring to deliver all of them, and within the darkness bind them,

Within the Land of Mordor the place the Shadows lie.”

Essential to the start of this story is the narration that lets us know in regards to the solid rings to rule over males, elves,  and dwarves of center earth — and finally, the One Ring created to rule all of them.  

Satisfaction and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Dialogue is used right here by Jane Austen’s narrator to introduce characters Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, their relationship, and differing views about arranging marriages for his or her daughters.

“A single man of enormous fortune; 4 or 5 thousand a 12 months. What a effective factor for our ladies!”

“How so? How can it have an effect on them?”

“My expensive Mr. Bennet,” replied his spouse, “how will you be so tiresome! It’s essential to know that I’m pondering of his marrying certainly one of them.”

“Is that his design in settling right here?”

“Design! Nonsense, how will you discuss so? However it is rather possible that he might fall in love with certainly one of them, and due to this fact you will need to go to him as quickly as he comes.”

Exposition Examples in Motion pictures

You’ll discover many good exposition examples in movie and tv. It’s typically in a dialogue between characters, flashbacks, subtitles, or voiceovers.

Try the next done-right exposition examples in motion.

Jurassic Park (1993)

YouTube video

On this American sci-fi motion movie directed by Steven Spielberg, exposition comes within the type of a video. It’s a video offered to the characters and the viewers, concurrently explaining how Jurassic Park can create dinosaurs.  

The video appears juvenile and harmless sufficient, by no means letting on to the following devastation that lets free when this experiment goes incorrect.

The Matrix (1999)

It’s essential to lean on exposition to maintain your viewers engaged when establishing a sci-fi or fantasy story with its personal world. The Matrix is masterful at providing you with the correct quantity of essential info to maintain you concerned.

The movie opens up with the next dialogue between two characters we don’t know but — however piques our curiosity with simply sufficient backstory, by no means revealing an excessive amount of.

Cypher: “You want him, don’t you? You want watching him?”

Trinity: “Don’t be ridiculous.”

Cypher: “We’re going to kill him. Do you perceive that?”

Trinity: “Morpheus believes he’s the One.”

Up (2009)

YouTube video

On this blockbuster Pixar film, we’re launched to Carl as a younger man — chronicling his life, his marriage to Ellie, and their goals of journey and journey into outdated age.

In the end the scene closes on her passing, making a tear-jerking second that connects you to Carl in a significant method and offers you the backstory with none phrases. 

This exposition cleverly reveals who Carl is and why he acts the way in which he does.

Sherlock (2010)

When Sherlock Holmes and John Watson first meet, we’re launched to the exposition by Sherlock. With the ability to learn his topics in seconds, Sherlock informs the viewers that John is a conflict veteran and deduces that he’s on the lookout for a flatmate.

Sherlock continues to supply extra info by the next monologue…

“I do know you’re an Military physician, and also you’ve been invalided house from Afghanistan. You’ve acquired a brother nervous about you, however you received’t go to him for assist, since you don’t approve of him, probably as a result of he’s an alcoholic, extra possible as a result of he lately walked out on his spouse, and I do know your therapist thinks your limp’s psychosomatic, fairly appropriately, I’m afraid. That’s sufficient to be happening with, don’t you assume? The title is Sherlock Holmes, and the tackle is 221B Baker Avenue. Afternoon.”

On this monologue, you study extra about John Watson whereas getting a sneak peek into the psyche of Sherlock Holmes.

This dialogue additionally highlights the variations between the 2 males — providing a touch of why Sherlock and John may work properly collectively.

Exposition Examples Accomplished Proper

Overpacking for a visit generally is a expensive catastrophe — particularly in the event you’re paying to have your baggage make the journey with you. Underpacking can put a damper in your journey in the event you don’t have what you want.

And the identical is true for expositions that give away an excessive amount of of a narrative making it predictable and boring, or too little, making it irritating and complicated.

Make investments your viewers with efficient expositions in your tales, and also you’ll have passengers gladly refusing to go away.

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