Saturday, July 5, 2014

"Too much of anything ain't good for you."

The Eight Sentences:

When I hear the term, “infodump,” the first name that comes to mind is that of the late author, Tom Clancy. Others who fit into that category include James Michener and Michael Crichton. No doubt readers can rattle off the names of other authors whom some feel provide “more information than I want to know.”
On the other end of the technology spectrum for a writer, simply saying, “The woman shot her gun,” is not sufficient to stand alone. Readers deserve more.
How much more?
It depends.
Just a ounce of details can produce a ton of credibility.

The Set  Up:
An excerpt from my third novel, a work in progress titled, A Year Without Killing, appeared in this BLOG and introduced a technical topic. It was unnecessary to go into great detail, just give the reader the basics so they would understand that my main character applied a learned skill out of habit.
I was inspired by a comment to write a blog about "infodump."
These eight sentences come from that blog.
The title is a quote from my late father, my most frequent source of inspiration.

Dad and me.

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  1. I used the links to reference both blogs - wonderful advice about overload of info. You make a very valid point. It's also interesting to use the WeWriWa snippet this way, I enjoyed it.

  2. I agree with "I depends". Sometimes, I like a lot of details, and sometimes I just don't care about the color of the shirt of the guy who is going to die in the first chapter.

  3. So true, it's hard finding that right balance!

  4. Wonderful article, Chip (and thanks again for the shout-out)! :)

    I can see the resemblance between you and your father, both in image and philosophy.

  5. I think my comment got eaten so I apologize if this is a duplicate.

    I agree with Angela -- it isn't easy to find the right balance.

    I think this is especially true in fantasy and science fiction, where you have to drop your readers into a whole new world without dropping said world on their heads. Too little info and they're lost, too much and they're bored, and either way, you've lost them.

  6. Interesting new way to have fun with Sunday Snippets. I agree, sometimes too much information takes me away from the story. If there's too much, I'll skim the 'infodumps' just to get to the heart of the tale.

  7. Definitely takes skill to provide the right amount of information but not too much. Interesting eight!

  8. Ok, I'm confused. Is the blue the snippet from something?

    1. Yes. The snippet is from a blog. (I checked the rules for both Wknd Writing Warriors and Sunday Snippet and I believe I'm on solid ground.)
      I added a sentence in red that should clear things up.
      Thanks for pointing that out, I can see how it would be confusing.

  9. Love the pic of you and your dad.

    1. Thanks Millie. He left me quite a reputation to live up to.

  10. Solid stuff. Showing is better than telling but there does come a point where you can show too much & confuse the reader with details that don't advance your story.

  11. Wow, you look a lot like your dad. I usually skip the infodumps.

  12. Yep. I agree with everyone up there. Balance the details with action. I try not to add detail I can't use again, so each piece has to be for a reason.

  13. I detest infodumps as much as too much backstory. Most of that information can be giving during action or even dialog. And Tom Clancy is a huge culprit. Great snippet, Frank.