Which Theme is Introduced in This Exposition

How do good stories start? In the middle of the activity? With a tiresome buildup to the action? What would you lot say really
is the literary definition of exposition, and how can knowing information technology help yous write better stories?

Exposition is a literary term that deals with how to start a story.


In this article, I’ll define exposition, talk virtually how it fits into the dramatic structure, give examples of expositions from pop novels, plays, and films, and then give a few tips on how to apply the exposition best in your writing.

Let’s get started.

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The Write Structure, which is about the subconscious structures backside bestselling and award-winning stories. If y’all desire to learn more about how to write a peachy story, past mastering storytelling musts like the exposition literary definition, yous tin can go the book for a limited fourth dimension depression price. Click here to get The Write Construction ($5.99).

Exposition Literary Definition

The exposition is a set of scenes in a story that are meant to introduce the audience to the characters, globe, and tone of the story. Information technology is relatively brusk, and no major changes occur.

While nosotros volition focus on how exposition works in a narrative in this article, the term is also used in music, marketing (expo), and academic, expository writing, where it relates to a comprehensive argumentation for a theory or idea.

Origin of the Term Exposition

The word exposition originates from two Latin words expōnere, significant “to display,” and expositio meaning “a setting forth.”

The combination is helpful to agreement to what is happening in the exposition of a story: the setting forth of a display, like how an author brings for the pieces of a story, including the characters, the setting, and the pieces of the plot earlier the story truly begins.

The music world gives us clues as to what is happening in an exposition, too. An exposition is the beginning department of a fugue or sonata grade during which the main melodic themes are introduced for first fourth dimension. In the aforementioned fashion, in a story, the exposition tin exist the place where the theme and the primary ideas are fist stated.

Synonyms for exposition, in storytelling, include introduction (used by Freytag) and sometimes claw.

Knowing the origins of the exposition literary definition can aid you purposefully use exposition in scenes structuring your story.

Where Exposition Fits in the Dramatic Structure

At The Write Do, we talk well-nigh the six elements that brand up dramatic construction. They are:

  • Exposition
  • Inciting Incident
  • Rising Activeness/Progressive Complications
  • Crisis
  • Climax
  • Denouement

In dramatic structure, the exposition occurs at the beginning of the story and is meant to set up up the inciting incident, which is a moment where the activity kicks off in the story.

How Long Is the Exposition in About Stories?

Since stories are nearly change and values in disharmonize, the exposition, which contains no change, is necessarily quite short.

Most exposition is just two or 3 scenes, and sometimes it’due south just half a scene.

For example, inThe Hobbit, there are simply a couple of pages of exposition earlier Gandalf shows up and invites Bilbo on an chance.

Call back about how this works well in the story as you remember the exposition literary definition—how it establishes the Shire, the tone for the novel, and the quaint setting that will drastically alter once Bilbo leaves habitation.

Exposition Examples

Hither are a few examples of exposition in literature:

Example: The Exposition in
Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet, the exposition is really quite long, even longer depending on where yous put the inciting incident (Freytag puts information technology before than I would, just then, Freytag has a different way of thinking nearly story structure):

  • Servants of the two leading families in the city, the Montagues and Capulets, feud in the streets.
  • Romeo, a immature son of the Montagues, is depressed afterwards existence rejected by a woman, and his friends attempt to cheer him up.
  • Juliet, the daughter of the Capulets, chafes at her parents setting her up with a human being.
  • Romeo’s friends convince him to nourish a party at the Capulets’.

At this party, Romeo meets Juliet, and falls in love at first sight, creating the inciting incident. It is so that the main action of the play begins.

Simply it isn’t until the 5th scene that this inciting incident occurs, which makes this one of the longer examples of exposition.

Gustav Freytag argues that the invitation to the Capulets’ party is actually the inciting incident, which would make the exposition a chip shorter, only three scenes. I get this, from a sure perspective, since it’due south the party that throws the two families together irrevocably, simply I think that effect is dwarfed by instant attraction between the ii lovers.

Exposition Length: four scenes

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Example: The Exposition inGravity

In contrast, the filmGravity, almost an astronaut attempting to survive a disaster in space, has an exposition that is quite curt.

The story begins with Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and astronaut Matt Kowalksi (George Clooney) who are on a spacewalk on the Hubble Space Telescope.

But their spacewalk is interrupted when a missile strike causes a concatenation reaction of space debris that threatens to destroy much of the spacecraft around the planet.

This missile strike and the space droppings chain reaction occurs right at the end of the showtime scene, pregnant the exposition is less than a scene long.

Exposition Length: less than 1 scene

6 Tips for a Cracking Exposition

If you’re writing a novel, screenplay, or other narrative, how do you write slap-up exposition? Thinking nigh the exposition literary definition and how it works in storytelling, here are a few tips:

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one. Begin With Your Story’s Core Value

As we’ve talked about in our word of story arcs, every story has a cadre value calibration that it moves on, and when yous brainstorm a story, your very start scene should be about the cadre value of your story.

There are traditionally six value scales:

  • Life vs. Expiry
  • Life vs. a Fate Worse than Expiry
  • Dear vs. Hate
  • Accomplishment vs. Failure
  • Maturity vs. Naiveté
  • Good vs. Evil

Stories rising and fall on the scale of these values. A beloved story might brainstorm in the middle of the dear vs. hate scale, rise during the run into cute, autumn during a breakup, and end high on the love scale.

In your exposition, part of a writer’s job is to found what scale your story is moving on. Your story may play with several of these values, but whatever your core value is must be presented from the very offset scene.

Are you telling an run a risk story on the life vs. death calibration? Then begin with your first life vs. decease moment.

Are you telling a functioning story most a team competing to win a major tournament? Then brainstorm with a scene that deals with accomplishment and failure.

Are you lot telling a story about skilful and evil? Well, show the audience a moment when good confronts evil right at the start.

Your exposition is
merely about introducing your setting and your chief characters’ background information. It’southward also about
introducing the values
at play in your story.

Then, when you commencement with these values and continue them in mind throughout the rest of your story, you’ll observe the story comes together.

The Five Best Scenes in Romeo + Juliet (1996) | The Young Folks


2. Include Conflict—Only Because There’s No Major Change Doesn’t Mean There’s No Conflict or Choice

Stories can feel slow and boring during the exposition, even when they’re by great authors. But they tin really elevate when inexperienced authors brand the error of thinking the exposition is just to innovate characters, provide backstory, and develop their world.

No. Please, dear writer, do not do this.

The exposition is still office of the story, and all story relies on disharmonize and option to create plot motion.

Otherwise your reader will read v pages of your story and then put it down in boredom.

Your exposition must still be a good story.

How do you lot actually do that though? How do yous make sure your exposition has conflict and choice then that it can develop the plot?

Here’southward how: just as a story has the vi elements of dramatic structure, so every scene must incorporate them as well. It is these six elements inside every scene that will proceed your story moving.

That means every scene, even a scene in the exposition, must take exposition, an inciting incident, rising activeness, a crisis, a climax, and a denouement.

For example, let’s look at the opening scene in
Romeo and Juliet, in which the servants from the Montagues and Capulets feud on the streets.

We could outline the scene like this:

  • Exposition: Two Capulet servants talk about their hatred of the Montagues.
  • Inciting Incident: Two Montague servants come onstage and a verbal feud begins.
  • Rising Complication: Benvolio, a Montague, tries to end the fight, but Tybalt, a Capulet, insults him.
  • Crisis: Benvolio must cull whether to fight and interruption the peace or allow himself to be called a coward.
  • Climax: Tybalt and Benvolio fight until their fight is cleaved upwards past armed citizens.
  • Denouement: The Prince declares that anyone who breaks the peace will be executed.

See how, even though this is just a scene in the exposition, information technology still contains all the elements of dramatic structure?

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So, too, whatever scene in your exposition should have this dramatic structure, or else risk feeling like tedious info-dumping.

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3. Introduce Most of Your Characters

Outset impressions matter. How y’all introduce your characters is how they will exist remembered past the reader throughout the story. Have care to introduce them with the exact impression you want the reader to take abroad.

You can innovate them through narrative, description, or internal monologue (a character’south thoughts), merely the best way to
beginningintroduce a character is through dialogue and activeness.

Also be sure to innovate all or at least
mostof the important characters in your story in the exposition.

While you lot can introduce characters throughout the first act of your story (information technology’s normally non a good idea to innovate them subsequently) information technology’s your exposition’south chore to introduce nearly of your cast.

This is a lesson I learned the difficult way in my memoir
Crowdsourcing Paris, when I introduced a pivotal character all the way at the terminate of human action two.

When a beta reader gave me feedback that I needed to introduce the character earlier, I did a massive facepalm. I should have known better! So I moved up the grapheme’s introduction, and it made the story flow much better.

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4. Establish the Point of View (POV)

Found your point of view in the exposition, and and so don’t change information technology.

The bespeak of view is the perspective from which y’all tell the story. It will make up one’s mind how your readers receive information, which is crucial to how they experience the plot.

The primary options are third person limited, third person omniscient, and showtime person.

Only like understanding the exposition literary definition is crucial to storytelling, so is understanding the definition and application of point of view. For more on this, you can read our ultimate signal of view guide here.

When Aladdin shares his loaf of bread with two children. | 30 Times Disney Ripped Out Your Beating Heart and Stomped on It | POPSUGAR Love & Sex Photo 23


v. Save the Cat

I tried and truthful method of introducing a central grapheme in the best possible calorie-free is to take them “save the cat,” a screenwriting term popularized by Blake Snyder in his book of the same proper noun. The term refers to a grapheme who does a selfless, or at least admirable, human activity to bear witness they are “worth rooting for” and endear him or herself to the reader early on on in the story.

The term comes from Roxeanne, the 1987 movie starring Steve Martin and Darryl Hannah. In the showtime of the pic, Martin, who has a strangely long nose, literally saves a cat from a tree, thus making sure you love him despite his foreign advent.

The admirable act, of form, does non accept to be saving a true cat.

Here are some examples of this device in pop stories:

  • Aladdin. After stealing a loaf of bread and escaping the police, Aladdin offers his share to 2 hungry-looking children, proving that he’s a thief with grapheme.
  • Harry Potter and the Magician’s Stone. If existence an orphan and bullied by the uncle, aunt, and cousin he lives with isn’t enough for readers to bond with Harry, he likewise befriends then saves a snake from humiliating captivity. (“Salve the ophidian” is a less tricky guideline, only information technology works!)
  • Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth Bennet is offset singled out as worth rooting for by her begetter, when he compares her to her sisters, saying, “Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters.” So subsequently, we cheer for her when she’s insulted by Mr. Darcy and instead of getting aroused, she laughs information technology off.
  • The Hobbit. Bilbo Baggins, similar many of us, both longs for adventure (because of his Took beginnings, as Tolkien explains) and is very uncomfortable with it. This inner turmoil makes him the perfect “lowest” hero thrown into the midst of a very tumultuous situation involving dwarves and dragons. He is like us, and we always want to root for ourselves.

While a selfless or admirable human activity is non required, it is important to somehow develop a bond with your characters early on, and this technique is ane of the best, nigh efficient means to exercise information technology.

If You Liked Bridgerton | Edmonton Public Library


vi. Build to the Inciting Incident Rapidly

As nosotros showed in our case, the exposition isn’t meant to be long: every bit curt every bit one-half a scene and every bit long as four.

The indicate here is to get to the signal: the inciting incident.

The inciting incident is when the story will brainstorm moving, and a story that doesn’t move doesn’t make for a good story.

And so don’t dawdle.

Do what you lot need to do to gear up up the inciting incident, and so move on.

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Some Books Don’t Start With the Exposition

Just because corking writers understand the exposition literary definition and how to use information technology in stories doesn’t mean all stories
an exposition.

In some stories, specially action, thriller, or horror stories, it’s advisable to begin with a short scene of heightened tension.

There are several ways to handle this:

In Medias Res

In medias res, meaning “in the heart” in Latin, is a literary technique to start a story in the eye of the action. This begins the story with a heightened level of suspense at the expense of clarity for the sake of the reader.

The audience, who doesn’t after all know the characters who are caught up in the activity, tin hands experience afar or even confused.

However, in certain stories and genres this is well worth it for the sake of an immediate shot of action.

A good example of a story that starts in medias res is almost every film in theMission Impossible franchise.

Flash Frontward

Similarly, a story that starts with a flash forward (equally opposed to a flashback) begins not in the exposition but in the climax—not a full climax but a shortened glimpse of the climax. Then, in the centre of the crisis of that scene, you pull abroad from the scene and flash back to the start of the story, the exposition.

A good example of this technique isFight Club past Chuck Palahniuk (both the novel and film versions).

There are drawbacks to kickoff with a moment deep in the action of the story, whether in medias res or a flash forwards. You can miss the opportunity to build a bond between your audience and your characters. You as well take chances confusing and disorienting them.

The writers who do it the all-time depict the audience out of the action every bit quickly as they drew them in, shortly beginning normal exposition.

What is always truthful of successful stories is you have to get through the exposition at some point, fifty-fifty if it’s not in the first scene.

Good Stories Offset With Clear Choices

If you want to write a bully story, you don’t start too fast with a climactic moment. You also don’t want to start too slow with no choices or conflict.

No, you want to beginning with strong exposition, using crisis choices to innovate characters in a way your reader can root for them, non giving away also much information, not creating much movement.

Instead, you want to set the foundation of all the story that is going to happen in the hereafter, starting with your inciting incident.

Understanding the exposition literary definition and studying examples of stories (similar the ones covered in this mail service) that include exposition with purpose volition help you lot employ exposition (well) in your own story,

So get started, and have fun!


Now that you’ve read this post, how well do you understand the exposition literary definition? Let’southward put the exposition to use with the post-obit creative writing exercise:

Use the post-obit story structure as a creative writing prompt to write an exposition of your ain.

  1. Exposition: ___________ (Fill in the blank.)
  2. Inciting incident: A master thief shares the program for the greatest heist of his/her career with his/her team.
  3. Rising action: The squad plans the heist.
  4. Crisis: All-time bad choice. Gamble losing the heist for the sake of the team, or choose to save the team and give up the profit from the heist?
  5. Climax: The chief thief gives up the profit, saving his/her team.
  6. Resolution: Missing out on the heist, or actualization to, was all part of the thief’s plan, and he/she shares the profits with his/her team.

Start by outlining the missing exposition in a unmarried sentence. Then set your timer for 15 minutes and write your exposition as quickly as you can.

When your fourth dimension is upwardly, post your practice (and your exposition sentence) in the comments for feedback. And if y’all post, be certain to go out feedback on a few pieces by other writers.

Happy writing!

Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an writer and the leader of The Write Practise community. He is also the author of the new book
Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. Information technology was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching?
Book Joe here.

Which Theme is Introduced in This Exposition

Source: https://thewritepractice.com/exposition/

Originally posted 2022-08-06 11:54:10.

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