Explanations in moderation

Pet peeves: I love writing about them.

I find that many authors, including myself, have an overwhelming need to explain things. Some explain the history behind an event, object, legend, et cetera. Some explain the reasons a person is innocent, guilty, late, early, involved in the situation, or way more badass than anyone knew.

That’s fine, explain away. Obviously, this is knowledge, the audience needs.


However, what the audience doesn’t need is the same explanation five times within the same story, or even chapter. We’re not (all) stupid. (Yes, I’m mean. Get over it.) There is absolutely no need to explain in entirety from the beginning every time a new character asks a previously answered question. All that does it make the passage tedious and the reader ends ups scrolling down until there’s a recognizable spot of new information.

Why? Why do people do this? If it’s for a word count, well that’s just ridiculous. I’d rather have a true accounting of the length of the story I am about to read than be bored and abandon the story because apparently the author is more concerned with vanity (I just wrote 25k words!) than putting together a well-written piece of work.

Your readers have obviously read the explanation once in a prior chapter or paragraph, why constantly repeat yourself? Instead, use this moment to introduce a time jump, or insert some more thoughts about the narrator is thinking about the situation (be it 1st or 3rd person). But constantly repeating yourself throughout a story takes away from the reader enjoying it.

Now, this is just my personal opinion, bitchy as it may be. I’ve got high standards. But I’ll write about that in a separate post, I think.

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