Info dumps

I too have had trouble with the dreaded ‘info-dump’. I knew better than to start a story with the entire character back story but I couldn’t see how to get it in there. Then, I spotted a dialogue and thought, perfect!

Wrong.

My dialogue went something like this:

Anna: “Hi, Roberta. How are you?”

Roberta: “Hi, Anna. I’m better thanks. I’m almost over my cold, though it certainly wasn’t as bad as the pneumonia I had when you were in love with Henry but he back stabbed you by going out with Louisa and you heard about it through your best friend Veronica by accident. How are you?”

It was a disaster.

So, how does a pro do it? Well, I got a link or two for you. 😀

Janice Hardy does such a good job of explaining it here, I couldn’t resist putting a link. She’s a pro and she explains it so much better than I ever could. Here is another post on what an info dump is and how to avoid them. And finally, this one on how to weave information into the story naturally.

A big thanks to her for those awesome posts!!

11 thoughts on “Info dumps

  1. Yeah. You don’t want info dumps in stories, and weaving it in is difficult. Good to know there are a couple of pros willing to help the rest of us figure out how to get around it.

  2. In some ways my whole book is one big info dump. Something happens. The main character, a historian, digs through his obscure sources to try to figure out why it happened and what will happen next. Usually being wrong it’s time for the next theory. I’ve tried to get him to shut up and find another way to get the info out, but he just keep telling his stories.

    • It sounds like that ‘info-dump’ is a mystery that the reader is trying to uncover, so they’re riveted, trying to put the pieces together in their head. A fascinated reader is not a bad thing. 🙂

      • I hope so. I’ve worried about it since my first draft but my beta readers haven’t mentioned and seem to think the whole thing is fast paced. Beyond mystery, I think of Lord of the Rings and how often different stories, back-stories, “catching up” and tales are told. Not to compare myself to LoTR, but it tells me it can be done.

      • I would definitely trust your betas. I think writers can be really hard on their own writing. From what little you told me, I would have to say it wasn’t an info dump at all but a lead on how to solve a riddle or a puzzle, something that’s intriguing. I’m thinking your book sounds like the DaVinci Code. One twist after another! I couldn’t put that book down!

  3. Pingback: Readers’ Choice | Taylor Grace

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