Thursday, January 26, 2012

Avoiding Info Dump

The more I read, the more I realize how many ways there are to tell a story, how many unique voices are out there.  In the realm of science fiction, many stories are told in a strictly linear fashion, though certainly not all.  The novels I write are told this way, with only the occasional description of a past event, because it gets too confusing trying to tell such a large story out of sequence and have it make sense to a typical reader.  Maybe I just don’t have enough practice to do this yet.  Maybe there are too many plot threads in my novels to do it successfully. 

With a shorter story, I may have some success.  With my current project, which is still nameless, I want to tell it somewhat out of sequence, using past events to illuminate the present.  I want readers to wonder why the world is as it is, and to slowly discover how it got to be this way as the narrative progresses.  This will hopefully eliminate the problem of info dump.  For the uninitiated, info dump is a somewhat unfortunate term that is a common problem in the genres of science fiction and fantasy.   To info dump means to lump a whole lot of back story and rules of the universe in one large, difficult to read clump.  Ideally, this information should be distributed in a way that makes it feel natural and interesting rather than cumbersome and mind-numbing.

This is an issue I’ve encountered multiple times.  I just want to see what interesting methods I can devise to overcome it, at least on a smaller scale for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment