3 Tricks to Energize an Expository Scene

Has this ever happened to you? You’re working on your manuscript and you’ve come to a point where you need to reveal information to your reader. It might be something crucial to the plot, or a vital revelation about your main character. You start writing the scene, but somehow it’s flat and boring. It sounds like a couple of talking heads. You start to feel completely blocked.

If it hasn’t happened to you, you’re lucky. I’ve experienced this scenario any number of times writing my 20+ books. Early on in my career, I would flounder for a solution, but now I rely on a few go-to methods to freshen and energize the scene.

1. Change the setting

If it’s not working to have your characters sitting in a restaurant while they hash over their next step in defeating the alien zombie-vampires, get them up and moving. Your characters can walk through a park, or drive in a car, or climb up the hill to where they think the talisman is hidden. Sometimes an intimate, static setting is appropriate—in her room, or hidden in the cave safe from those AZVs. But if the scene is coming off too blah, get your characters up and out.

2. Change the POV

If you’re using the point of view of more than one character, sometimes all it takes to brighten up a scene is to switch to another character’s POV. That other character will have an entirely different perspective on the situation. That perspective might generate more conflict, which is exactly what will keep your reader reading.

3. Do it with action

This is a step beyond just getting your characters moving. Write your expository scene as an action scene. They’re fighting those AZVs, and in the process shouting out to each other what the reader needs to know—that he’s the one who left her that love note in third grade, or she stole from the church donation box to post his bail. Or you reveal information with the action itself—that AZVs have to be staked, beheaded, and tasered to be destroyed.

So if your expository scene is lying there deader than a staked-beheaded-tasered AZV, give these tricks a try and get your book moving again.

About karensandler

Lover of chocolate. A couple felines short of full-fledged Cat Lady. Author of the YA Tankborn Trilogy (TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION), from Tu Books. Founding team member of We Need Diverse Books. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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