Monday, 8 August 2005

'Begorrah, Father Pat, I've dropped me shillelagh in me Guinness!' Or is that too obvious?

Yesterday, I spent some time working on a long opening scene for something, where the problem is trying to subtly weave in quite a lot of background information about the characters without being tediously obvious about it, or falling back on cliches. It was hard work, and I still haven't quite managed it.

Then in the evening, I was lucky enough to be invited to an excellent dinner. It was held at Solly's Kosher Restaurant in Golders Green. At one point, one of the party gave another a menorah, to wish her well on her forth-coming trip to Israel. Later, someone else used the phrase 'Well, we won't talk about what happened at my Bah Mitzvah!'

All of which I only mention to point out that although truth is almost never stranger than fiction, it does get away with some very clunky exposition.

3 comments:

James Casey said...

If this suits the occasion, you could always put in one of those characters who insist on telling you things you don't care about - like the sort of person who reads a newspaper, gives a short laugh at something, and then waits for you to ask them what they're laughing at.

That really irritates me. Then you don't, of course, ask, and they laugh again, and then eventually they tell you. Or they say, "Oh, this is really funny," and then no matter how much you ignore them, they tell you.

My brother Gerald's solution is, as soon as someone gives him the first indication they're doing this, he leaves the room.

Or course, your problem appears to be more about the character's religious/ethnic/yaddayaddayadda persuasion.

Anonymous said...

Coincidentally, yesterday at a party in Manchester, I gave my daughter-in-law a hanukka menorah made of brass, as a bon voyage gift.

The reason this is worthless as exposition is that I am Catholic, she is an agnostic Australian, and she was leaving for East Timor.
She just happens to collect menorahs.

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