What is Exposition?
When the discussion is about discourse, there are four known rhetorical modes called argumentation, description, exposition and narration. However, this article will focus particularly on exposition. The importance of exposition is to provide information about a story, essay or a movie. Readers want more information before they continue to read a story or watch a movie. Exposition gives a reader a background about a story, or a movie’s plot, characters, setting, and theme.
Fictions typically utilize exposition. Writers would often state that it is a ‘fiction-writing mode’ for passing on information about a story. The use of exposition is considered to be an effective approach in establishing and give more intensity to a story’s drama. There are several ways in delivering exposition in fictions. According to Ansen Dibell placing information in between scenes is the simplest ways to deliver exposition.
Another way of delivering information through exposition is by using other tools such as newspaper clippings, diaries, trial transcriptions, and letters. Moreover, some writers use exposition through a character. A writer may use lines or dialogues from a character. Sometimes using a character’s thought can also be used as an effective tool in utilizing exposition.
There are times that the information presented becomes wordy. Such exposition is called or known as information dump. Others call this plot dump or exposition dump. When an information dump uses dialogue from characters it is often referred to as idiot’s lecture.
Typically, information dumps are presented at the introduction of the story. This is done so that the story may establish a hypothesis for the plot. Television series also utilize the use of exposition by presenting some scenes from the preceding episode. Typically, the exposition is presented by using the phrase ‘Previously on’ followed by the title of the series.
Others use a villain speech to present an exposition. Exposition such as this expresses a villain’s plan to hurt or end a hero’s life. Usually, the villain comments that it is alright to divulge his plan since the hero cannot do anything to stop his plan. Such exposition is often utilized in comic books with superhero stories.
Television shows such as sitcoms commonly present information dumps. The presentation is done through introduction of characters. Specifically the characters are non-recurring and present a plot of a specific episode that is comedic. The technique is to reveal the characters’ thoughts, which in turn will keep the viewers tuned into the plot.
The opposite of information dump is known as incluing. Incluing is a technique, in which a process of world building is involved. Gradual exposure of the reader to some information about the world the story is set. The thought about incluing is to present a clue to the readers about what world the author is creating. However, this must be done without having the readers be aware of such world.
Typically, expositions such as information dumping and incluing are both used in stories of fantasy and science fiction. Exposition certainly depends on the creativity of a writer. It does not really depend on what type of exposition to utilize; instead it is how the exposition is presented by the writer.