Random Ramblings, Reblogged, Writing

Hiding Information with the ‘Pope in the Pool’


I HATE reading boring exposition. I know it’s sometimes necessary. But come on! Do I REALLY want to read four hideously LONG pages of the “rules” of your story’s special snowflake universe? Umm…no.

Anyway, I’ve been playing with my storyboard this afternoon, trying to figure out how to NOT be THAT writer when I had a funny conversation with my kiddo. I think I will “borrow” this conversation and slip it into my work in progress. I needed a “Pope in the Pool” moment, a funny way to hide a bit of exposition.

What’s “Pope in the pool?” Check out Jo-Ann Carson‘s post to find out more. I think she did an excellent job of explaining one way to hide exposition in your novel.

Thank you, Jo-Ann Carson, for your insightful information!

xo Juli

Jo-Ann Carson

Today I’m talking craft. It’s a how to-hide information post<g>.


Deep in revision mode, I realize that my main problem with pacing is due to poorly constructed info-dumps. Wanting the reader to understand my characters I give them too much information in the beginning. I’m learning that:

  • Some background information doesn’t need to be said, and
  • the stuff that does… must be said in an interesting way

Which brings me to the Pope…

The Pope in the Pool

The second “immutable law of screenplay physics” according to Blake Snyder is a technique he calls, “The Pope in the Pool,” and it deals with this problem.

“…the Pope in the Pool gives us something to look at that takes the sting out of telling us what we need to know.  And does so in a lively and entertaining way.” (Blake Snyder, Save the Cat, p. 125)

It sounds too…

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4 thoughts on “Hiding Information with the ‘Pope in the Pool’”

  1. Sometimes it’s so hard to know how much to tell. Because readers are all different. For instance, when I wrote my first novel, one friends told me, “You have a little bit too much description.” Another friend said, “You really need to add more description.” I had to just sigh. I write pretty short and lean most of the time. My biggest problem sometimes is saying too much about what people are eating. I’m a real foodie, and I love to hear about the food the characters are eating. But I know most people don’t care about that. So I’ve tried to do better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL I gain 5 lbs every time I read a mystery by Louise Penny. Her food descriptions are incredible! I enjoy books with good food. 🙂

      You can get 20 readers in the same room and get 20 different reaction. That’s what I’ve learned in book club.


  2. After the TV series Game of Thrones staged a long passage of expository dialog in a brothel with semi-nude actors in the background, the word “sexposition” was invented to describe that particular technique of getting through the dull-but-important bits. I’ve noticed that in American action movies, the villain often has a long passage of exposition to deliver (the “before I kill you, I’ll tell you why…” school of writing.) British actors are frequently cast in these roles, probably because those who have stage experience are used to memorizing long speeches…. I’m thinking of Alan Rickman (Die Hard) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness.)

    Liked by 1 person

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