1. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    How much information is to much?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Meteor, Nov 18, 2012.

    Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this.



    Hello everyone, I'm here today to ask how much is to much? I've noticed I have a tendency to go on and on in my writing I guess you could say. I feel like if I'm not explaining every last detail in my writing that it won't be any good or make enough sense. So I wanted to ask how much information, be it about the world, characters or other things, is to much information? Should I hold back most of the information or just feed the reader with tons of detail and knowledge at once before continuing the story?
     
  2. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    If it becomes a large amount of information dropped at one time, then it's too much. Information isn't necessarily a bad thing, per se. How it's presented can be a problem. Efficient uses of are will drive your story along. Flashbacks, while criticized, if kept small (I've got four different MC's who are having them b/c they're connected in a deep, unique way) but none of them are taking more the 2-3 paragraphs, because it just needs to be wham bam, thank you ma'am in nature.

    You probably don't need to have every bit of your information inside the book. There's things a reader can infer, and there are things they can't. While your first chapter set's the stage, a large infodump at the beginning will turn a reader off. Sprinkle the information like fertilizer and your story will grow.
     
  3. Maxitoutwriter
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    Maxitoutwriter Member

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    Does the information help to move the story forward or give the story meaning? If not, give it the boot in the second draft.

    Like the philosophy of using less words to pack a greater punch; too much information actually makes it harder to control what you want to convey. Like a butcher, cut out the excessive fat in the second draft, then you can have full liberty with your creativity and imagination the first time through.

    Like Alfred Hitchcock said, "It is the unopened door that people are most afraid of."
     
  4. Scared_to_bleat
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    Scared_to_bleat New Member

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    I have this problem when I write and The way I tend to look at it is, you don't have to barrage a person with all the information on a subject at once, it can be spread out across the book. For example I have a character taking money (pounds sterling) from a french man's dead body, in France. Now rather then going through the process of explaining how the french came to use the Pound rather then the Euro as their national currency and risk breaking up the pace of the scene, I just left it. There's a large chunk of dialogue in the next chapter that explains it perfectly, without having to take the time to outline the entire history of the fictional future I'm writing in. That being said however, I'm not sure if this is good practice and it may actually be something a writer should avoid like the plague, I don't know but I'm sure that one of the more knowledgeable posters will inform me if I have made an error in doing this:confused:. On one last note though, I do feel as though it seemed to work but I understand that I am completely biased towards my own work.

    I hope this helped you in some way and that I didn't just waffle on without being helpful.:)
     
  5. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Only add some information that is important. Too much will slow the reading pace and bore your readers. Plus it is better to jock the information down piece by piece, or let your characters speak out the information.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Always keep the reader hungry. With experience, you will find the line between hungry and starved, but new writers nearly always overfeed the reader with excess information.
     
  7. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Some too much information will also give your readers a headache. They will only want to read your information if it interests them.
     
  8. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    I prefer to trust the intelligence of the reader to make some connections, infer what bits I've left out, and exercise their own creativity in reading the work. I know that I find a book more intriguing when I'm not spoonfed.
     
  9. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    When it bores the readers, it's too much. When it's needless and doesn't add anything to the story.
     
  10. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Tell them clearly what is critical to the plot. The details are just a garnish. Not enough, it's bland, too much, it's overpowering and smothers the main.
     
  11. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone :) they helped out a lot.
     
  12. Fife
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    Fife Senior Member

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    Tell them just enough. Consider the circumstances of your plot and exercise control by only telling the reader what you believe they ought to know at that given time. Give the reader a little bit of credit for being able to connect the dots.
     

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