1. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    How to reveal "The Rules"?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Milady, Apr 19, 2008.

    How do you reveal important information, such as the rules to an elaborate game that serves as the basis to a plot, without resorting to an infodump, a (really boring) "rulebook", or bland dialogue with a naive young person acting as the reader's mouthpiece?
     
  2. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    You can ignore an explaination of the rules altogether and simply show characters playing the game. A reader would figure the game otu eventually. Also, you can describe the rules but only bring them up when they become important to the matter at hand.

    The best way to avoid info dumps is to keep info to yourself until it becomes important to the events taking place. No need to explain why Bob can't move forward five spaces with a blue card if he's moving forward with a red card.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One way is to just dump the reader into the middle of it. The reader has no way of knowing the rules to begin with, but by observing how the seasoned players perform, and with the occasional rule violation called out, the reader eventually gets the hang of it.

    In the meantime, you have rather slyly tricked the reader into participating, by arousing his or her curiosity and provoking questions.

    For example, read Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes.
     
  4. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    Alright, thanks, guys. I think you've also helped me work out a stubborn block... Maybe I'll just start from the middle of the game, then, and work my way out of it at the same time the readers are learning the rules. Then revise later.

    Thanks!
     

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