What is Exposition?

Hayley Milliman

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines exposition as “a setting forth of the meaning or purpose”.

You, young writer, begin writing a story. You have your characters, your setting, your plot – you can’t wait to paint a picture with your words.

Caution, young writer! There is a simple truth to writing that must be considered before you begin putting your masterpiece on the page.


Any and all storytelling requires exposition – the explanation of how Character X got from Point A to Point B and then later to Point C.

In other words, exposition provides crucial information about the characters, their motives and the setting of your story. Expository writing is often criticised for over-explaining a situation, yet it’s one of the most important aspects of all writing genres.

Good writing is actually the same thing as good exposition. Expository passages are where you cultivate your voice, and there are many ways to successfully “‘set forth the meaning and purpose” of your story.

Here is a famous example: See More . . . 




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