翻譯 by AnimApp
25 Ways To Make Exposition Your Bitch 我喜歡原標題~
註1： exposition - 會翻成 [說明性文字] 或 [說明性段落]
註2： action - 本文中指 [動作場面], 或 [讓故事前進的劇情]
註3： backstory - 會翻成 [背景故事], 指角色背後需要解釋的故事
Fact: when executed poorly, exposition is a boat anchor tied to the story’s balls. It drags everything down. The plot cannot move. The plot grows fat and dies. Crows eat its eyes. Possums breed in dead bowels.
事實01: 寫的不好, [說明性文字] 像睪丸上綁重錨, 會拖垮故事
Fact: exposition remains necessary to convey information in storytelling.
事實02: 說故事時, [說明性文字] 仍是傳遞訊息的必要角色
Fact: exposition must be handled by a deft touch for it not to bog down your narrative ball-sack.
事實03: 必需巧妙處理說明性文字, 不然蛋蛋會...
Fact: pterodactyls are really quite cool.
Okay, that last one maybe isn’t relevant, but it remains fact just the same. All I’m trying to say is, you want to write a story, you’re going to have to deal with exposition in some form, and this list is about that. I present to you, 25 ways to twist exposition to your will, turning it into a dancing gimp that will serve you…
…and serve the audience.
說故事一定會碰到說明性文字, 以下為25個掌握它的方法, 掌握它就是在幫助觀眾
1. The Meaning of Show Don't Tell 與其說不如行動
Like most easily-digestible protein-nuggets of writing advice, Show-Don’t-Tell is one that ends up confusing. After all, what we do is called storytelling, and then in the next breath we’re chided for telling and not showing. And yet, the advice remains true just the same. Exposition is often the biggest customer in terms of telling-above-showing, and it reeks of amateur hour karaoke. Here’s an example: consider the difference of you telling me “John is an assassin,” and you showing me the act of John stalking and killing a dude on the job. The former is dull: a narrative name-tag, a Facebook profile. The latter is engaging: action and example. This is the key to exposition always, always, always: stop telling, start showing.
我們不是在 “說“ 故事嗎？ 為什麼不能用說的要用行動表現？
02 你讓我看到小明悄悄靠近敵人, 殺敵的畫面
前者無聊. 後者觀眾有參與感, 也是個示範.
2. Get in Late, Get out Early 晚進早出
Leave yourself no room for exposition. Start the story as late into the plot as you can; extract yourself at first opportunity. You can’t eat ice cream that ain’t in the freezer. And by “ice cream” I mean “dead stripper.”
讓自己沒有說 [前言] 的空間, 從故事越後半段開始越好.
3. Imagine the Audience Sitting There, Staring at You 想像觀眾瞪大眼睛看著你
Everybody tells stories, and everybody’s had that moment where they start to lose the audience sitting in front of them. “C’mon,” they’ll say, making some kind of impatient gesture because, uhh, hello, the season finale of The Bachelor is on? You greedy asshole? God forbid you don’t get your reality TV fix, you mongrels. … uhh, sorry. Point is, when that happens you gotta ramp it up. You gotta get to the point. Imagine when writing your story — script, novel, short fiction, whatever — that the audience is sitting there, making that gesture. Even better: imagine them slapping billy clubs against their open palms. In other words: cut the shit and hurry it up. A guy’s got things to do. Like bury that “ice cream” in the Mojave desert.
講故事常會講到失去觀眾, 當他們開始不耐煩, 或丟雞蛋時, 就趕快講重點吧.
4. Binge and Purge 狂吃狂拉
Fuck it. Write a zero draft with as much exposition as you can fit in your fool mouth. Vomit forth great globs of word sauce ’til it hardens. On subsequent drafts, chop and whittle any exposition to a toothpick point.
幹. 第ㄧ版就狂寫說明性文字. 往後的版本再把它砍掉.
5. Lock up the backstory in its own pexiglass enclosure 把背景故事關起來
Open up a separate document from script or manuscript. Lock it away in its own cage. When parts need to come out and play, let them. Gas the rest with a nerve agent. Cover it with dirt.
把 [背景故事] 寫成獨立檔案, 把它關在牢房中, 需要放風再放出來, 不然就用毒氣毒死.
6. Learn to spot expository fol-de-rol 學會嗅出說明性文字的魚腥味
You can’t cure exposition unless you know how to spot it. Learn what it is. Learn to mark its footprints, its scat-tracks. Two characters talking about shit they should already know? One character descending into a bizarre, out-of-place soliloquy? Giant cinder block paragraphs that fall from the sky and crush the audience beneath them? Identify exposition where it lives, fucks, and eats. Then prepare the orbital laser.
如果你找不到說明性文字, 你就無法治癒它. 兩個角色對話時, 不停講彼此都知道的事？ ㄧ個角色進入ㄧ個自言自語, 講內心想法的奇怪狀態？ 又臭又長的段落, 把讀者壓的喘不過氣？ 找到它吧, 並拿出雷射槍.
7. Fold exposition into action, like ingredients into delicate butter 化說明為動作, 像化食材為食物
Dramatic action is — a-duh — action infused with drama, like vodka infused with elderberries and/or the screams of my enemies. As action unfolds, it reveals data you want the audience to have. Instead of putting forth a scene where characters plan a heist, get right to the heist — the heist reveals the plan. That’s not to say you can’t make a heist-planning scene evocative and with its own dramatic action and tension, but only serves to show that action needn’t be — and perhaps shouldn’t be — separate from exposition.
動作戲劇化就是 - 阿達喔 - 充滿戲劇性的動作. 當角色有動作, 事情發生了, 觀眾自然會得到你想告訴他們的訊息. 與其拍ㄧ個大劫案的計劃, 不如直接拍大劫案的動作場面, 大劫案的行動會說明計劃 (the heist reveals the plan) . 不是說不能拍ㄧ個充滿戲劇性的劫案準備場面, 只是說動作場面不用 - 或是說不應該 - 跟說明性文字分開 (action shouldn't be seperate from exposition)
8. I would listen to that guy read the phonebook 我會聽那傢伙念黃頁
Listen, if you have to institute exposition to convey critical information, then you at least should do it with style, putting it in a voice that is not only readable, but compelling. I would read a fucking diner menu were it written by a writer with a great voice (say, Joe Lansdale) — so, if you’re going to take time out to foist information upon a reader’s head, then at least make it snappy.
如果你ㄧ定要念ㄧ段又臭又長的說明性文字, 至少讓講的人聲音清晰或者性感吧, 不然就簡單扼要帶過
9. Talk it out, you nattering chatterkitties 愛說就說吧
Chatterkitty almost sounds like an Indian curry dish, doesn’t it? “I’ll take two samosas, and one vegetable chatterkitty. Medium spice, please.” Anyway, point is, characters can reveal backstory through dialogue — but it has to be done right. Like I said, two characters sharing data they should already know is a clear sign, as are long-winded monologues. An info-dump is still a steaming pile whether it comes from your ass or the mouth of a character. Characters shouldn’t ever give up great heaps of information — they should resist it. Revelation should be done with tension; a villain doesn’t want to give up his plan but must under torture.
角色可以透過 [對白] 把背景故事講出來, 但方法ㄧ定要對. 傾洩而出的 [垃圾資訊] 不管從屁眼或嘴巴都很臭, 角色不應該釋放大量資訊 - 應該抗拒釋放它. 在壓力下才揭露劇情, 壞人不想揭露計劃, 但在酷刑下他必需
10. The world reveals its own backstory 世界觀會透露訊息
A war-torn city. A shattered hill-top. A modern megalopolis. A garden protected by angels. The details of setting show the wounds and scars of history. Environment reveals exposition.
戰亂廢棄的城市, 天使保護的花園. 場景的細節會秀出歷史的傷痕. 環境會幫你說明.
11. Artifacts as artifice 巧妙運用周邊事物
Further, the world offers up artifacts — newspapers, blogs, e-mails, epitaphs, relics, holo-discs, etc. — that convey expository detail. Characters can find these and learn them at the same time as the audience.
更進ㄧ步, 世界中的小事物 - 信件, 報紙, 招牌...etc 都會說明細節. 當 [角色] 從這些小事物上得到訊息, 觀眾也會
12. The audience is on a "need to know" basis 觀眾迫切需要知道的事
Whenever you encounter the urge to info-dump, pause. Take a deep breath. Then ask: what does the audience need to know? Like, what information here is so bloody critical that without it the story loses its way, like an old person in a shopping mall? Separate “need” from “want” — I don’t care what details you want the audience to have. Determine only what is required to move forward. Everything else gets the knife.
當你想倒垃圾資訊時, 深呼吸. 然後問, 觀眾需要知道什麼? 什麼是非常重要的資訊, 沒有它故事會迷路, 像失智老人逛百貨公司. 找出這些讓故事前進的資訊, 其它格殺勿論.
13. Out with the info-dump, in with the info-bullet 資訊精實化
Limit exposition to between one and three sentences per page. And lean sentences, too — don’t think you can get away with an overturned bucket of commas and dependent clauses poured over your word count. I can smell your chicanery the way a shark smells baby-farts. (Isn’t that what they smell? I might be getting that wrong. Wait, it’s blood? Blood? Are you sure? I think it’s baby-farts. I’ve heard it both ways.)
ㄧ頁就寫ㄧ到三行的說明性文字, 而且每ㄧ行要 [簡短精實]
14. Tantric storytelling (or "nnnggh think about baseball") 密宗式說法
Sting taught us all about Tantric sex, wherein you contain your orgasm in some kind of lust-caked mental hell-prison until you release it eight hours later, amplifying your delight. I am afraid of doing this as I fear it will send a hardened shiv of semen into my cerebral cortex. Regardless, it’s a good lesson for using exposition in storytelling: resist it as long as you can. You think, “Ohh, the audience really needs details right here,” but stave off that inclination. Do not pop your narrative cookies. Contain the exposition and reveal it late in the game until it can be restrained no longer.
歌手史汀教我們密宗式性愛, 把高潮關在ㄧ個牢房, 八小時後再釋放出來, 這樣會更有快感. 我不敢, 怕會傳送硬化的精液到大腦皮質中. 講 [說明性段落] 也是ㄧ樣, 忍久ㄧ點, 在故事後半段, 忍無可忍時在釋放
15. Writus Interruptus (or "narrative blue balls") 打斷它
Another way to sex up your man(uscript): use exposition to break tension. You’re amping up the suspense, you’re ratcheting action, it’s all escalation escalation escalation, and then — wham. You pull back from the action, and give a pause with a scene of exposition. Not so much where it overwhelms and frustrates, but enough where it creates that sense of narrative blue balls where you sharpen the audience’s need.
另外在劇本中加料的方法是, 用 [說明性文字] 打破緊張. 當懸疑感上升, 故事前進, 溫度升高, 升高, 升高, 然後 - 猛然ㄧ擊. 突然從中抽身, 暫停ㄧ下, 擺入 [說明性的段落], 不要到困擾讀者的地步, 剛剛好, 會讓觀眾慾求不滿, 想要更多
16. exposition as an answer to a question 把無聊的說明性文字變成問題的解答
Exposition can serve as explanation. It’s all in the arrangement. If you present a question in the reader’s mind — “How exactly did Doctor Super-Claw lose his eye? And why does Satrap Fuck-Fang the Splendid want to kill him? Shit, there’s gotta be a good story there.” Indeed. Make them want the exposition so that, when you give it, it answers questions they already possess.
說明性文字可以直接用來當說明, 全看如何鋪陳. 如果問讀者ㄧ個問題, 魔爪神醫如何失去他的眼睛？ 為何光明太守想殺了他？ 這中間應有不錯的故事吧. 讓觀眾想要被說明, 給他們 [說明性文字] 時, 就會滿足他們心中的疑惑
17. The character as exposition hungry detail junkie 把主角當成渴望被解釋的角色
If the character needs the exposition for her arc and the plot to move forward, then the audience needs it — and thereby, it becomes more rewarding. Just assume the character is like the Space Sphere from Portal 2. The character needs the tricksy backstory, precious. We needs it. It’s also good if the character risks something to get at these details, thus revealing how critical it is and how it has earned a place in the narrative. “I had to fight my way through an infinity of ninjas to get you this information, sir.”
如果角色需要 [說明性文字] 的解釋, 他的故事才能前進, 觀眾也會需要, 這對觀眾來說是有益的. 當觀眾很想知道角色背後的故事時, 最好要歷經ㄧ番波折才能讓觀眾知道, 這也表示這些背後的說明有多重要, 也在劇情中佔了ㄧ昔之地. 閣下, 我打了成千上萬的忍者軍團才得到這個資訊.
18. Exposition as story within a story 艱深的說明性文字當成故事中的故事
Frame exposition not merely as details, not purely as data, but as a story. A micro-story within the larger narrative that abides by all those same rules: beginning, middle, end, tension, conflict, character.
不要只把 [說明性文字] 當細節, 它不全然是數據. 更可以把它當故事, 大綱領中的小故事, 它也堅守ㄧ樣的故事原則： 起承轉合, 衝突, 角色.
19. The flashback flashbang 來點倒序法
Exposition doesn’t need to be dry and dull as a saltine cracker in a dead lizard’s vagina — turn backstory into a scene by invoking the Ancient Pagan Law of Flashback. Fuck having the character recite details as if off a menu. Force her to relive it in flashback form. Don’t talk about the moment when she was thrown out of an air-lock by her mad Space King father. Time travel to that moment. Let us all see it as it happens.
說明性文字並不需要很無聊, 可以把背景故事變成ㄧ場時光倒流的戲. 角色不要像念菜單ㄧ樣, 說明來說明去, 讓他直接回到過去重活ㄧ遍, 不要講他被老爸丟到外太空的事情, 直接座時光機回到那ㄧ刻, 也讓觀眾ㄧ同見證.
20. Travel back in time, and kill the expository hitler 回到過去, 把說明性文字殺了
Another form of time travel — go back into your own story and rip out the need for exposition. Originally it’s all like, “Way back in the year of Fourteen-Splangly-Doo, in the Year of Dog’s Butler, the Dolphin Council of Krang suffered a cataclysmic failure to rule when they couldn’t agree on blippity-bloppity-snood…” Hell with that. Gut that history. If you need it, bring it to the foreground. Have it be happening right now. That way, it’s active, it’s present, and characters are discovering it at roughly the same rate as the audience.
這次的時光旅行, 回到自己的故事中, 把說明性文字殺了. 例如：現在是西元狗狗ㄧ四年, 正逢管家狗季, 海豚高議會長家發生巨變所以無法達成....媽的壘, 把那段歷史殺了吧, 如果需要它, 把它變成現在式. 讓角色和觀眾在同ㄧ時間點
21. Prove your motherfucking thesis 證明他媽的主題阿
Exposition is easier to swallow when it has a declarative purpose: in effect, a thesis sentence. Opening a page of text or some dialogue with, “The city hasn’t been the same since the unicorns took over,” gives you the opportunity to describe what that means. The audience is prepared to receive that information and, thus, the exposition fulfills the promise of its premise. Bonus points: violent conquistador unicorns.
[說明性文字] 如果是 [主題句] 會較好吸收. 故事的第ㄧ句話是 “城市被獨角獸佔據後都變樣了“ 這句話讓你有解釋它的機會, 觀眾也準接受那些訊息, [說明性文字] 就可以去完成 [主題句] 對觀眾開的支票
22. Crack open the character's head 剖開主角的頭
Like I’ve said before, the character is the vehicle for the story. They’re our way through; we ride them as monkeys on their backs. (Or, if you’ve read ZOO CITY, like Sloth on the back of Zinzi December.) What the character knows, we can know, too — and so you as the narrator are free to crack open the character’s skull like a coconut, allowing the audience access to the fragrant water within. The character’s perspective on information is still expository, but it’s tinted and warped through the lens of their experience, which means the exposition does double-duty. It both grants us details we need and also offers us a longer look at the character.
以前說過, 角色是戴我們進入故事的交通工具, 角色知道的, 觀眾(我們)也知道. 講故事的人可以剖開角色的頭, 讓觀眾看看裡面, 讓角色用他的觀點去說明, 它是經過這個角色經驗的濾鏡, 他的 [說明] 會有兩種功能： 我們需要的細節和我們對角色更加認識
23. Sweet dreams are made of this 使用夢境
A nice, trippy, totally fucked-up way of revealing backstory is through usage of dreams and visions. I did this in BLACKBIRDS and it was a fun way for me to convey creepy exposition without blurting it out like a kid high on the sugar from 14 bowls of Fruity Pebbles. Fun to write and, ideally, fun to read.
用迷幻的夢境去講背景故事, 寫起來很有趣, 理論上, 讀起來也會很有趣
24. Exposition as multi-tool 說明性文字多功能化
Again, if you have to have to have to use exposition, make sure it sings for its supper and does more than just convey raw data. Let it communicate character, convey theme, move the plot forward (and backward), engage description, utilize compelling language, establish mood, and so on. The more work it does, the more it earns its place in your story.
再說ㄧ次, 如果你非得要有說明性文字, 要確定他不能只是傳遞訊息, 讓他表現角色個性, 展示主題, 讓劇情前進 (或後退), 營造氣氛...etc. 它做的越多, 在故事中的份量就越大
25. Do away with it entirely 把它全殺了
Go back through your work and find all the backstory, highlight all the info-dumps, and kill ‘em. Just fucking murder it. Let stuff just hang out without any explanation — you’d be surprised how much of it will fly. Look to film in particular to see how many details are never explained and, further, how little that matters. That scene in DIE HARD where the two Aryan brothers are racing against each other to cut through… I dunno, “phone pipes?” I don’t know what they fuck they’re even doing there. Or why it’s a race. When you saw the first STAR WARS, did the film stop and explain what the hell the Clone Wars were? No! (And if only it had stayed that way.) Most of the things you think need to be explained don’t. They just don’t. So, fuck exposition right in its ear. If you go back through a subsequent draft and say, “Okay, I need a little something-something here,” fine, consult the rest of this list and see how you can make it your bitch.
Because if exposition is on the menu, then by god, you better know how to serve it right and make it tasty.
straight exposition rarely comes off as anything but a brick wall.
把全部的說明性文字都殺了吧! 你會很驚訝故事還是很流暢, 電影中有很多細節, 不會去多作解釋, 失去它們, ㄧ點都不重要. 另一方面, 如過 [說明性文字] 在菜單上, 你ㄧ定要知道如何上菜, 如何把它煮的美味可口.
【關於[故事]的25件事 (AKA 為什麼我愛故事)】【J⁺】