Greetings readers! Welcome to another Monday in which I am not present. I’m writing to you from the past, using perhaps the best-known means of time-travel, so that you can have this post on a day when I am very likely still busy and away in Alaska.
Maybe not. We’re reaching the part of the scheduling now where I may in fact have returned, but also may not have. I’ve become quantum!
Those of you that know how awful and interpretation that is may begin plotting my death now.
Anyway, regardless of my current limbo, let’s talk about writing. There’s no news I can talk about, since I’m in the past, so we’re just going to dive write in and talk about today’s topic: the mundane made awesome.
The idea for this post came to me on a rewatch of the new Dune movie (which is utterly fantastic). There’s a moment in the flick (minor spoilers) where the Duke and his entourage go out on a flight to actually watch a spice-harvesting operation take place (and if you don’t know what this is, definitely consider reading the book, seeing the film, or both). But here’s what struck me about this scene: it could very realistically be a documentary of some kind.
In fact, it almost is. The characters circle the spice harvester while a character explains to both them and the audience how the process works, what the job is like, what the crew is doing or watching out for, etc.
In other words, it’s very much the picture of exposition, and fairly mundane exposition at that. In our world, it would very closely be the equivalent of explaining how a dump truck works on a construction site. Which is about the most mundane thing ever, right?
Save that on this rewatch, I realized how invested everyone in the room was in this scene. I sat back, looked at the crowd, and all of them were hanging on every word coming out of the exposition character’s mouth.
There’s a reason for that. Despite this being the equivalent, at least taken flatly, of watching a documentary explain how a dump truck works, there is a reason no one in the room was bored, but instead fascinated by this explanation of, in-universe, something that was largely ordinary.
The story had made the mundane engaging. Taken something everyday and bland, and presented it in a way that was fascinating to learn about.
So let’s talk about how they did it. And then, of course, how you can do the same in your own writing.Continue reading