Recent comments from a beta reader generated concern regarding two passages in my novel, The Secrets of Dr. John Welles. In her insightful critique, she tactfully suggested that the two aforementioned passages might come across as info dumps.
I realized this before I sent my novel out for the initial round of beta reading. The offending paragraphs were pared back considerably and again upon return. Still, a round-two reader thought them a bit excessive.
I decided to go in search of advice on how to handle info dumps and to discover whether or not they are the evil creatures we’ve been led to believe. The second part of this quest was in response to the fact that I’ve read brilliant fiction by well-known and new authors who info dumped to their heart’s content.
Author Jami Gold supplied the guidance I was looking for as well as a remedy in her blog post, Four Tips for Fixing the Infamous “Info Dump.” What Ms. Gold suggested applies to all genres. I recommend using the tips as questions to ask yourself, then honestly answering them, to see if you truly wrote an info dump or not.
The questions and answers helped me to focus on what needed to be rewritten or left alone. Editing became much less daunting, and I didn’t feel as if I had to cut crucial information from my story. Thanks again to Jami Gold for helping to stock my Writing Toolbox.
When dealing with an “info-dump”, please don’t “butcher” your writing. Some information is absolutely
necessary to fill in details one might not pick up on. Show vs. tell is not always the best way to convey a point. Sometimes you just need to describe a scene or situation. Now I’m not an author but I am a reader and I know what and how I like to read. If I have to analyze every line I’m reading to catch the story plot, trust me, I’ll put that book aside in a hurry. I read for pleasure. I don’t want my “pleasure” turned into a technical manual I have to take notes on to follow the plot. Oops! Did I use the word “plot” twice in the same paragraph? …….just sayin”