1. Olle1087

    Olle1087 New Member

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    Which of the following scenes should come first?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Olle1087, Jan 2, 2017.

    Hi, I'm writing hard sci-fi.
    I don't know whether I should begin with either of the following scenarios:
    (Please do keep in mind that the scenes occur early in the book)

    1. The character investigates an incident :
    Pros:
    - Shows his passion
    - Shows what he's interested in etc.
    - Introduces multiple main characters.
    - I can introduce the mystery element early on (more suspense)
    BUT
    cons :
    - The incident is scientific so a lot of info-dumping.

    or

    2. The character is under congressional hearing :
    Pros:
    - Puts the character under pressure and shows how he deals with it.
    - Better protagonist (character) development (which I value most for a novel)
    - Info-dumping but doing it in a way that is engaging (congressman vs MC)
    - The info-dumping might be more engaging than the first option because it's done through a
    man v man conflict (that gets emotional).
    BUT
    Cons:
    - A lot of info-dumping.
    - A congressional hearing is rather dull (Although this depends on my writing ability).
    - The characters are very formal and they use difficult terms - your typical congress hearing.

    The scenes are interchangeable in my novel and I intend to use both.
    Which would you choose to begin your hard sci-fi novel? Thank you in advance!
     
  2. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    I don't write hard sci-fi, but every book needs an interesting opening. You've admitted yourself that a congressional hearing can be dull - so choosing for the protagonist to investigate an incident would be more likely to draw your readers in and keep them turning the pages. Provided that the incident in itself was interesting, of course.
     
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  3. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I would find a way to avoid the info-dumping in either case. I realize that that sounds like a flippant answer because you may be positive that you need it, but I think that it's still something to explore.
     
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  4. 221BOlympusExpress

    221BOlympusExpress Member

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    If I were the reader of your story, I would totally want to read more and be hooked if the investigation scene came first, since it sounds interesting, given the incident should be interesting in the first place, as Seren has mentioned above, so I would tell you to have that investigation involving scene take place first. And if the congressional hearing scene happened first, I gotta say I would not find it very entertaining and be very happy when it ended. Rest is upto you.
     
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  5. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I agree, the investigation sounds more interesting to me. When I hear congressional meeting, I think of falling asleep to CNN.

    Info dumps aren't bad if done carefully. Most readers of science fiction have a science background, so they already know and follow the scientific process, if you present data in that way, if the reader feels like part of the investigation, they don't mind facts. In fact, the more the better because we the readers are trying to figure things out before the characters do.
     
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  6. texshelters

    texshelters Active Member

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    What if your character is under investigation, wrongly accused, and to acquit him/herself, they investigate the situation? It can be both and thus perhaps be more interesting. Moreover, I think that what they are under investigation for can make or break the story.
    Peace, Joe Tex
     
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  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I suppose this is a terminology issue. My view is that info dumps are bad by definition. If you present a lot of information in a way that's interesting and engaging for the reader, to me it's not an info dump, it's something else.
     
  8. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Probably, my guess is that it would depend on both the writer and the reader's preferences. I think Tom Clancy novels are thrilling and engaging, but I know plenty of people who find his work boring and long winded. James A. Michener is another. I loved Alaska, I have a copy of it on my bookshelf. I don't think anyone else in my family has even finished it.
     
  9. Velvet Sky

    Velvet Sky Member

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    It quite depends on how you do it. Is it possible to make the hearing more interesting, or at the very least, less boring? What could happen? He hears something whispered he wasn't supposed to and can use it to his advantage? We see the investigation in memory form as the proceedings go on and bring out new info? He catches sight of papers he wasn't supposed to relating to the antagonist?

    What moves the story forward? It seems with a hearing you have a more clear cut problem to work through and solve before revealing the antagonist right off the bat?
     
  10. Cyncade

    Cyncade New Member

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    If it makes sense plot-wise, I would do both:

    Start off with the investigation, but leave off as much of the info-dumping as you can, only the most important parts, especially if the character is already familiar with the particulars. Then, proceed to the congressional hearing where you can relay all of the leftover info in a setting that makes sense to have everything explained.

    This method will draw the reader in with the intrigue without overwhelming them, then transition over to an environment where the info-dumping is relevant and doesn't seemed forced. This will also help keep the congressional hearing in a state of motion so you don't have to slow down the session with "character/personality" introductions for the main protagonist.
     
  11. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    How exiting is the incident? Could that be the place to start?
     

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