Friday, December 16, 2011

Information Dumping

Before we get this going, I'd just like to tell you all that the only reason why I keep updating so regularly is because I've been getting sick of writing. Not actually, but...I like to space out. It's how I'm having a momentary lapse of ADD. Sorry.

Plus, this is how I'm usually writing..or his head is right in my lap. Right now, we're on the bed.

Anyways, so this is another round of advice from PNWA.

The Book Doctor talked about the Information Dump (Gahhh, run away screaming!!!!) which takes the reader out of the novel. Why does it take the reader away from the novel?

Jamie and Sarah are having a huge fight. Just as Jamie goes to ball her first and strike....
She thinks back to the time when she was five years old, and skinned her knee. Don't worry though...her mom came to put a band-aid on.
BAM. The fist hits Sarah.
(Get it? Don't give your characters ADD)

The information dump occurs when:
*We are too lazy to be creative
*We are too lazy to write another ten pages, strewn about the novel, and letting people in
*We decide to give back-story at the wrong time
*We're telling rather than showing

An example of the information dump (this is real life, by the way. This was actually in Igniting a Firestarter, in the first five pages nonetheless. No wonder it kept getting rejected!):

Typically Mirrors try to have minimal contact with Firestarters because we can char and burn right along with the flames they throw at us  We can feel their insides, we can absorb their fires. It hurts to be around them. The other down side about being a Mirror is that sometimes, rather than deflecting the attack, we reflect it. We are supposed to be healers. Sadly, most times Mirrors interact with Firestarters we harm them. It’s safer if we adhere to avoidance. Even a hand wave can have repercussions.
When you’re born you’re assigned to your legion. A tattoo is placed on your right foot and inside your left wrist bearing your symbol, your coven, if you will. Generally, your powers are determined by genetics, but sometimes bastards emerge. These complexities can arise from parents sleeping around or an anomaly, but either way, they exist.  Rather than showing you what happens, say...using an interaction between the two different types, I just dumped this on you.

So, now...I have to go through this entire effing novel and cut the heck out of it.

Give examples, friends. It's easier to show the first time around than go through 200+ pages and try to come up with ways to show people what you're talking about.

Happy Holidays!


  1. Sometimes it takes SO. MUCH. CREATIVITY to figure out how to include back story without it feeling like an info dump! I don't think I totally got rid of all the little back story info dumps until about revision 9 on my last WIP.

  2. It really, really does. Sometimes I just info dump to remind myself to go back. Most times though...I think I'm being creative only to go back and think "Oh nooooooo"


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