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Reply To: Sparkler School: Storytelling 101

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Lianne Sentar

@phoenixfireV – That exposition solution sounds good to me!

Regarding your other question – I think that can be done in prose, but it’ll be tough. I suggest the following:

1.) Keep it as brief as you can. That can get awkward quickly, and just in general, paragraphs and paragraphs of narrative/description without any dialogue to break it up can be boring to read. (You can use the narrative character’s thought dialogue in place of regular dialogue, though.)

2.) Use lots of body language, descriptions of clothes/interactions with objects, and “tells” (like character-based tics or gestures), so you don’t have to rely too heavily on unrealistic insight (“She could tell from his eyes, even though she had just met him, that he came from a big family with lots of pets.”)

3.) Don’t have either character overexplain the signals they’re getting. Directly explaining the connection between body language/”tells” to actual characterizations (ala Sherlock) can work, but don’t overdo it. Include some body language/tells that the reader will understand without the narrative character tiredly explaining it – like “she nodded,” “she hesitated,” “she had rough hands,” “she had streaks of white in her hair despite seeming young.”