You think the reader needs this...


Our final lesson guides you to re-think exposition, backstory, and world-building in your early chapters. You feel like you have to explain all this stuff in chapter two -- but you don't!

Here's a challenge for you: go through your first three chapters and look for paragraphs of exposition-type material that you can shrink down.

You might ask -- how do I know whether it is exposition or not? One tip: is the information directly relevant and significant to the current challenge of the protagonist's simple job? Is this something the protagonist would think about as they try to make progress on that job? Or is it something they are being prompted to remember, hear about, get told about -- if so, probably you should shrink it!

  • Charlotte Chrimes says:

    I really love the idea of sharing info as gossip! Definitely going to use this in my book -I can already see it will work perfectly, thank you!

  • I found this very interesting and persuasive–thank you!

    But I’d like to run something by you. I have come across writing advice about “microtension” (also interesting and persuasive), which possibly conflicts with your clues approach. This suggests that when you raise little questions, (or clues), you should give your reader the satisfaction of an answer right away (and ideally within that answer is another question/microtension).

    Perhaps both concepts are possible? I’d love to hear your response.

    • I absolutely think both options are possible — questions that receive answers quickly and questions that are left open.

      But I also wonder if micro tension is about a different thing. Like the resolution that is needed in the moment is about the logic of the scene, not about giving the answer.

      For example:
      He held the door open for Mrs. Lancet.
      “Glad you could make it,” he said.
      She smiled. “You don’t deserve to be in this meeting.”
      He was shocked. He tried to respond, but two men from accounts joined them and there was no polite way to continue the conversation.


      to me, this satisfies the microtension rule and my rule of not explaining things too early!

  • Absolute genius advice. You explain everything so clearly. You make it seem so simple, but most people would never think about this stuff in such a clear-cut way. Thank you so much for sharing. You have an excellent teaching style.

    • Thank you so much, Chris. I care about giving good explanations so this is very moving.

  • colene lee says:

    I was very aware or my backlog of backgrd info, so welcomed your information. Even tho I am writing memoir, I can employ your suggestions and still tell the truth.

  • These three bonus videos of The Lightness Project are so valuable. Thanks so much for adding them, Daniel. They shed so much light on what to include in the first few chapters and what to tweak and leave out. You have the best teaching style.

  • Sindhu Vijayasarathy says:

    Hi David. Loved the mini modules and the examples. Thank you.

  • provspa329 says:

    All three lessons make perfect sense. I’ll be using these ideas down the road.

  • I’m now excited about my story because of project, flash forward and the clues. I still have to manifest them in my story, but yes I can see it!

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