In this episode, Leslie and Clark critique the first chapter of The Sentinels Sworn Book One: Archmage’s Rage, a fantasy novel by Andrew J. Cardin. They discuss world building, strategic use of exposition, point of view, tightening your prose, and the role of sidekicks.
Editorial Mission—Strategic Exposition
This week, schedule ten minutes each day to write about your world, whether it’s fantastical or commonplace. I recommend free writing (no editing, no crossing out, keep writing through misspellings and grammatical misadventures). Write by hand if you normally type and try different locations if you can. The object is to get as many details down as possible over the course of the week and shake things up so that you are accessing deeper layers of your mind and the story.
On the last day, look over what you’ve written and pull out the top five details you mentioned on each day that communicate something about the world. How do you know which ones will do that? Make your best guess; you know your world better than anyone, but try to see it with fresh eyes (this is why I suggested writing by hand and changing location). In today’s example, I would definitely include the spire and shards, for example.
In the alternative, look at a scene from your manuscript each day for a week and cull the details about your world for your list.
Take that list of 25–35 details and record why the reader needs to know each one, when they need to know it, and who can deliver it (and how) to greatest effect. Add these details to your story in the appropriate places.
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