1. HPandtheMI
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    HPandtheMI Member

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    Info dump?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by HPandtheMI, Sep 24, 2009.

    I am planning on having a chapter of my book where the MC (Jesse) and his dad (Jaxon) are talking. Jaxon is telling a story about his past and the evil ruler he defeated, the point is to show that there are still those who wish to live by his ways (I know this probably sounds really cliche but I'm going to have different twists, ect to make it unique).
    I have a really good idea of Jaxon's story, I plan on writing a prequel about it, but would his summary be ok, or would it feel like an info dump?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It probably would be an infodump, from your description.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yup! [ugh!]
     
  4. HPandtheMI
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    HPandtheMI Member

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    Yea, I thought so, thanks for clarifying :) Not going to write it, I'll try and work something else out.......
     
  5. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Infodumps are bad to begin with, but they can have their place in the main body. . .

    In Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, some of the most interesting parts were when the MC is talking to a mentor character, Dr. Morgenes. Morgenes explains some of the major history of the land, how it was it settled, the battles that were fought, and by extension, some current resentment between races.

    In LotR, Gandalf had to explain to Frodo some history of the ring and Sauron, among other things.

    In Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule, Zed had to explain numerous things to Richard in order for the present conflict to make any sense.

    In Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind, there was a good bit of mythology covered, which was, on the surface, entirely disconnected from the main story. But it was interesting because the reader knows it will be important and relevant at some point. You ask yourself, "what does it all mean for our hero?"

    The key point is to make sure the information is necessary in some way. The next major thing is to make the reader want to know. Tease the reader. Raise questions. If you play your cards right, you could have us begging for an infodump.

    A father explaining essential history to his son sounds very natural to me. Just put some thought into what comes before that chapter, how you could raise interest in the mean time.

    Once you've confirmed the information is truly important, it's all in the execution, IMO.

    Some of my favourite authors use infodumps. Often.

    Just don't ever start with an infodump!
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If it's an infodump, it's just as bad in the middle as at the beginning. Only provide information when the reader is hungry for answers, and never feed te reader enough to be satisfied.
     
  7. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I guess what I was trying to say is that it's possible to dedicate a chapter to exposition and not have it feel like an infodump. It's all in the build-up to that point. And the information itself usually raises more questions, possibly adding a new dimension to the story.
     
  8. HPandtheMI
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    I love the LOTR chapter with Gandalf talking about the ring's history, I actually found it really interesting!
    Anyways, I'm still unsure about the scene so maybe I'll leave it for now. Then add it later if I still feel it's neccassary. The scene isn't opening the story, it's into it a bit.
     

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