I would like to discuss exposition

I would like to discuss exposition

I would like to discuss exposition
« on: Jan 11, 2017, 12:49 PM »
Merriam-Webster.com defines exposition as;

 :  a setting forth of the meaning or purpose (as of a writing)
 a :  discourse or an example of it designed to convey information or explain what is difficult to understand
  (1) :  the first part of a musical composition in sonata form in which the thematic material of the movement is presented
  (2) :  the opening section of a fugue
:  a public exhibition or show
expositional play \-ˈzish-nəl, -ˈzi-shə-nəl\ adjective

"Exposition." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2017.

I've been discussing exposition with more than one person over the past few months and I've come to understand that either I, or they, or any of us, actually know what exposition is.

given the definition by Merriam Webster I take the stance that exposition in the contest of storytelling is the explaining, the telling, of "the meaning or purpose" or - facts.

I strongly believe in the "show don't tell" rule,also known as "show as much, tell as little, as you can." my favourite authors use this amazingly well. Tadd Williams, Neil Gaiman, H.P. Lovecraft.

Frank Herbert isn't the best at it but he's definitely up there in the heavyweights.

Basically I believe that the less I need to tell the audience in a visual medium, the better. I try to keep my dialogue as accompanying or as a mood setter more than anything. Not that I'm good at it, but it's what I aim for.

What do you think?

Re: I would like to discuss exposition
« Reply #1 on: Jan 11, 2017, 01:41 PM »
I definitely am a firm believer of the "show don't tell" philosophy, especially if you take your story telling medium into consideration.

HOWEVER. As the definition you've pulled states, exposition is there to explain some info that may or may not be easy to understand- and I think that should be heavily pondered over. Because you know what's a difficult concept to SHOW other people? How your brain works.

I think in order to be able to give the right amount of exposition without beating information over people's heads, for me, is finding that fine line between what information *I* know versus how much information the audience needs to know. I know that plot A goes here, here, and here. What I need to ask myself is: what information do I need to provide to my audience without a wall of text (provided that I'm working in comic format) that plot A goes here, here, and here? And I feel like the only way to improve this understanding of how much information to provide is to tell more stories and take note of your feedback. Did you loose your audience? Did your audience feel like they read too much text instead of seeing what the visuals have to say? Could I have maybe considered a different color palette do express some scenes better? Could I have used different objects, focal points, or altered anything to convey my story better?

I don't know. Just my thoughts!

Re: I would like to discuss exposition
« Reply #2 on: Jan 11, 2017, 10:55 PM »
Generally Void has always encouraged Show Don't Tell as a philosophy when making comics.  More often than not this will reflect in people's critiques and voting patterns.  We're working in a visual medium so it only makes sense that we as artists want to improve on our visual storytelling abilities.  So we've always encouraged Show Don't Tell around here.  But as someone who reads a shit ton of comics, I can definitely tell you there are comics out there that do the opposite on a regular basis.  There are super exposition heavy comics out there and many rely on it.  There are experimental comics out there that try to balance prose with comic storytelling.  I'm not gonna judge someone either who needs to squeeze in a little exposition for their story to have build up that you can't get through in a few pages on a deadline.  But I feel that while you're here in Void, you should always strive for Show Don't Tell because as you push yourself in that direction you will improve on your own skill and on your ability to tell a story visually.  It's a matter of honing your skills and always aiming for something higher.

Re: I would like to discuss exposition
« Reply #3 on: Jan 12, 2017, 10:30 AM »
I feel in terms of storytelling, a good way to think about this is entertainment value.

Would people like to see a character just say, "oh, we have a bad history with that gang, really bad". Or, would it be better to show that hypothetical 'gang' ruining the character's life in real-time?

"Showing" is in essence considered better than "telling" because instead of yelling at a reader they should feel a certain way, you present the information as events unfolding, and try to produce a desired, more emotional reaction. You hear someone say "man those gang guys are mean to merchants", you fail to see how that information is meaningful to anyone. You see the gang knock over the merchant's wares or whatever and you're like "wow, those guys sure are awful".

There's some things that can't be portrayed with just pictures-- say, like, really abstract concepts, or names. But most things can be portrayed with a nice balance of showing and telling, it's all about taking advantage of comics as a medium.

As well, I'd like to address the fundamental part of character in exposition, which is-- the character's voice. Not every character will deliver perfect, reliable exposition, and this can be fun.

Mammon and Karrin Klash would present vastly different accounts of Void's Impact Day (Karrin wasn't around, for example), and this can be really amusing, insightful into the character, or both. This is also where dramatic irony can set in-- a character feeling a certain way, in their told view, but the shown events being actually different.

Sorry for going off on tangents like that! Just, always think of the reader. Do you want them to have to slog through ten paragraphs of information they don't necessarily need? Complexity does not equate to depth.

Re: I would like to discuss exposition
« Reply #4 on: Jan 12, 2017, 10:57 AM »
It's definitely a balancing act that usually balances best when you give a bit more weight to the images over the words, and while you want the words and the images to complement each other when you present an idea, you generally want a story that if you take out all the words and just look at the images, folks still have some sort of idea of what's going on

The good thing about practicing that here is that people will usually point it out in the comments thread if they felt your comic was too talky; Getting no such critiques for a comic usually means you did something right with your expositional balance

Great examples of what NOT to do can be studied from Suicide Squad. For example:

Rather than telling us WHY we should consider Katana formidable, this would have been far more effective with a scene of Katana actually showing off her powers (like they did for every other Squad member except Slipknot, also bad storytelling)

If you have the time there's a wonderful video about film editing + Suicide Squad with universal rules that work really well for comics too:


Newest Comments -

Newest Characters -

CharlamagnePineCone OleanderAda DimitrDr. RasmussonThe Heir to the UniverseCornelious HuskBrittany MarshalAlekiLaqwen & ArgosLucas LeDeuxStein Neumann (Skunk)

Open Challenges -

No open challenges
Create a new challenge

Latest Topics -

All News, All The Time 
Last updated: Staff Bot - May 07, 2021, 08:35 PM
Backstage Pass 
Last updated: TheCydork - May 06, 2021, 08:58 PM
Art of Rivana 
Last updated: Rivana - May 06, 2021, 07:28 AM
Last updated: Red - May 03, 2021, 07:14 AM
Double Scar Match Character Reaction Jam  
Last updated: Shen - May 02, 2021, 11:15 PM

Latest Members -

Users online -

125 Guests, 1 User


Most Online Today: 148.
Most Online Ever: 1,184 (Jan 13, 2020, 06:21 PM)


Original site Copyright 2002-2017 Kevin Birtcher All characters and content Copyright 2002-2017 their respective owners Theme by SMFTricks - Modified by Brittney Scott & Jordan Bobo
Website Security Test