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  • scrimgerr

WHAT'S going on in the background?

Explication is the yucky veggies of writing. No one's favorite part.

Snappy dialogue is easy and engaging. Sexy descriptions are challenging and fun. Heart-pounding action sequences – you know, I don’t think I’ve ever written one of those -- are sure exciting to read. But necessary background info – ugh. Paving the way for story to follow.

There was a lot of that in my last chapter. I thought: ‘Unless readers know these facts, they won’t be able to follow what happens next.’ So I unloaded half a dozen pages of data.

The techniques I used are the same ones I used to use when my kids didn’t want to eat veggies or go to the dentist. Bribery: ‘When you finish your peas there’s ice cream.’ Misdirection: ‘Wheee, the stroller’s going downhill too fast to – oops, here we are at Dr Waldron’s.’ And above all: distraction. Bogie famously hoped that when he gave a speech of explication there were ‘camels fucking in the background.’ My kidlit version of that involves fallout from Adele’s wardrobe malfunction and a treachery reveal.

Will readers know it’s essentially an info dump? Maybe. Maybe they’ll enjoy it anyway.


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