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Writer's Block:
mid-combat exposition
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mid-combat exposition:

How could I justify the mid-combat exposition about one's powers that is so common in shonen fighting anime? I'd like to play with that trope in one story, but first I need to figure out a reason for it to even be in place.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
 2 pvtnum 11, Fri, 1st Oct '10 5:04:47 PM from Kerbin low orbit Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
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...to tell the reader why so-and-so is able to do such-and-such...?

I would guess that there would be a point in which the reader would start to think "okay, get on with the story already" or words to that effect, and that your expository dump should be some amount less than that.

What that value is, I have no idea.
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If your character is arrogant, it is a good way to demonstrate it through having him explain what his power and then boast about how they are unstoppable.
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 4 pvtnum 11, Fri, 1st Oct '10 5:10:41 PM from Kerbin low orbit Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
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Internal monologue style, maybe.

Or for a twist, from the other POV.
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 5 Major Tom, Fri, 1st Oct '10 5:13:30 PM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
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In any case keep it short and sweet. Fight Scenes are an extreme case of Just Here for Godzilla. You either have the audience during it or something like an Exposition Info Dump will turn them off to it.
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 6 Voltech 44, Fri, 1st Oct '10 10:02:37 PM from Alongside a Virtual Weasel
All Guns Sparking
^Agreed.

You could consider having the opponents scope each other out - analyzing each others' attacks and strategies while formulating their own. That way, it wouldn't be so weird (or stupid) for one of the combatants to explain his power and then be done in because he exposed its fatal weakness or something. And if the fighters are analyzing each other, they'd only know so much about the other guy's potential, making the reveals for new powers a bit more palpable.
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In my opinion, having a character explain his ability in the middle of a fight (unless his target is unable to continue) is a sign of arrogance on the character's part. You could have him temporarily stun his opponent, and calmly describe his technique while his opponent is stunned.

One potential way to do it, (personal favourite one), is to have it written outside of the dialogue. This enables the reader to understand the ability, without them wondering why the other combatant is allowing the speaker to blab about his techniques.

Alternatively, explain it after the combat to his allies. But make sure he keeps the specifics of it's weakness secret, but allow the reader to know via internal monologue.
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OK, some explanation:

I'm planning to have this be a general trait of most characters, but also be realistically impractical. So I need to explain why they'd do it anyway - maybe some sort of honor thing, but I'm not sure why. I'm also planning on having a couple of characters who either don't exposit about powers, or outright lie when expositing. They'll be towards the Combat Pragmatist end, of course, and will also tend to have powers that are harder to readily figure out.
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Total posts: 8
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