I think one of my biggest frustrations with books is badly done exposition, specifically, if it’s done through a character who’s only purpose is exposition.
I’ve seen a lot of authors do that thing where at the beginning of the book there are characters who sprout out a load of exposition and then never show up again.
Keep in mind, I don’t just mean them being present, if they are not physically there, but other characters mention them, that’s fine! For example, if in Finding Nemo we didn’t see Nemo again, that wouldn’t be a bad exposition character because the plot revolved around getting back to him. A character who is remembered by your other character, is still in some way present in the plot.
But some authors make it even more awkward by using three to five different characters in a couple of chapters that sprout exposition and then are never mentioned again. And it’s frustrating.
Especially for people like me who have memory issues, we really notice the show don’t tell rules. Because if you just tell me something, I’m not going to remember it.
I’ve already talked about how I believe character’s should only have a name if they’re important. And this is in a way an expansion of that. If you think you’re doing this, here are a couple of ideas to fix it:
-What important character’s do you have and could the exposition come from them instead?
-Does the exposition need to come from a character at all?
-Could they stick around even if in a small role? Popping in every once in a while?