Margaret Atwood on Expository Fiction (2011)

“The hardest part about writing fiction is the part that you know you have to put in that is expository. It’s like the part in a stage play where you have to get the characters on and off the stage. So you have to think of a reason why they’re now going to walk off of the stage. And then you have to make sure that the timing is right to enable them to get off the stage. So the parts in a novel [that correspond] are the parts where you know there is other stuff that the reader has to know, but it’s not very interesting stuff for you to write. Those are the parts I don’t like. And if you’re competent enough, they won’t be able to tell which those parts are. We hope. We’re always hoping. We’re always hoping that the hard parts won’t be found out, if you like. And the other hard part, of course, is when you’ve written the spectacular passage with all kinds of wonderful words in it, and it’s just great, but it doesn’t fit, and you have to take it out. Too bad.”