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  1. Cyrano

    Cyrano Member

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    Infamous Infodump/ Long Winded Conversations

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Cyrano, Sep 24, 2009.

    I'm near the beginning of my story, and the MC is now in Magical Fantasy Land. Right now I am trying to introduce Magical Fantasy Land to the MC, as well as to begin some characterization, through a conversation between the MC and another soon-to-be-important character. But this conversation is getting rather long.

    Couple of questions.
    -Is introducing a character AND the setting too much for one conversation?
    -Is a conversation the best way to do an infodump?
    -How can I make a long conversation more interesting to the reader?

    The conversation so far is probably a little more than one Microsoft Word page long (don't know for sure, haven't transferred it from paper yet). I was thinking that in order to make the conversation more interesting, I would have the MC and the other character go on a walk. That way I could throw some info in about the setting without it having to be in a conversation, and use some descriptive language to entertain the reader throughout the conversation.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cyrano,

    I guess it depends on the context of the situation (between the MC and the soon to be important character), but try to determine how much the reader actually needs to know at that moment for the story to move forward.

    Allowing the reader to experience the new, magical world, along with the MC will be much more interesting than having it dumped in a conversation. It will also stick with the reader longer and make more sense, in context, if the reader learns through the eyes/senses/experience of the MC as opposed to being told about it in a conversation. Trust the reader and be patient. You don't have to front load everything.

    If you think it's needed, write the dialogue and then move forward. As the story progresses, you may find that parts of the conversation can be eliminated, leaving it shortened.

    Having some sort of action or activity while the dialogue occurs can be a positive thing if properly incorporated.

    The reader is probably more interested in 'the character in the new magical world' than simply 'the new magical world.'

    Just my two cents.

    Terry
     
  3. Banzai

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Why have an infodump at all? Why not simply provide the information about the setting as and when it's required to understand the story?
     
  4. Robert

    Robert Banned

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    Make it shorter. Make it confrontational.

    The dialogue you write is the best way to entertain your reader throughout the conversation.

    Cheers,
    Bob
     
  5. luckyprophet

    luckyprophet Member

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    The conversation may be as long as it will, if there's content that holds the attention of the reader.

    It's possible to do it through conversation. Umberto Eco presents a crime scene in a conversation in the beginning of The name of the rose, and it's a very interesting conversation.

    ~

    1, contents.

    2. Pre-information, that might later make people say "oh, I heard of this before ..." (When talking with the two red coats in the Interceptor, Jack Sparrow tells them "and then they made me their chief/", and they are interrupted by the girl falling into the water. In the next movie, weird natives in a somewhere distant island had taken Sparrow captive, and made him their chief ...)
     
  6. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There is no best way to do an infodump, except to not DO an infodump. An infodump is a bad thing by definition. If the information is presented well, it is called exposition.
     
  7. architectus

    architectus Banned

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    I would have to see the dialog to see if it is an info dump.

    However, I love dialog. Some of my favorite novels have pages of dialog, whole chapters even of pretty much pure dialog. Ender's Game comes to mind. Abarat is another.

    As long as the dialog lets us get to the know characters and most importantly, progresses the story, it's great. It's fantastic.

    Stranger In a Strange land is full of long dialog, and I mean long. But those are some of the best parts.
     

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