Part 2 of My Critique

Thanks to everyone who stopped by for the Bernard Pivot blogfest yesterday. It was so fun!! I had a lot of comments on the maggot farming so I thought I would share this. Now on to today's post.

If your looking for part 1 of my critique you can go here and if your looking for the whole thing you can go here or click on the page in my header. In this post I wanted to cover info dumps and resisting the urge to explain.

In my characters world I can see everything that's happening. The reader can't and that bothers me. I guess the difference between good writers (positive thinking) and great writers is the ability to make the reader "see" your world but not realize they are doing it. I get so excited by my story I want the reader to get the full experience and love it as much as I do. That means I struggle with letting go. Give the reader control of their imagination. Describe the scene at bare minimum and let the reader fill in the blanks. With info dumps I'm learning you need to spread out what you're trying to tell. Let some of the info come directly from a character or an outsiders observation. Make it so the reader needs to keep going to find out what they want to know. Below is a second snippet of my critique and Marieke's advice in blue. Enjoy.

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Laughter floated down to my spot on the floor. "Of course you are. I have it on good authority that Denver is asking you to the dance." Denver St. James was the high school jock and the dream of every girls heart. Including mine. The thought of that muscled up Adonis asking me out was hilarious.
Here it's getting a bit too much
like info dump after all.


"Are you serious? Who told you that?" Snatching clothes from my closet I ran into the bathroom hoping to tame my wild hair. Maybe I should get a hair cut today. Seeing my reflection I had no idea why Denver would be interested in me. I was passably pretty but nothing to stare at. Freckles were scattered across my nose which was slightly crooked from a run in with tree. Coordinated I was not. Who was Emma kidding?
Same too. Something else, there are a lot
of very specific details in this. In one of my favorite writing books
- Self-editing for fiction writers - the writers talk about the 'urge
to explain'. If you don't tell your reader the main character is
opening the door and stepping over the threshold, they would never
know the MC has entered the room. Surprisingly enough - as readers, we
do. So resist the urge to explain :)


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How do you resist the urge to explain and do you find yourself fighting info dump?

14 comments:

  1. I do fight that urge. Especially since I typically write urban fantasy that involves light world building. On reading second drafts there's always inevitably a talking head scene where two characters are outlining things for the reader.

    While light loads of info dump are sometimes needed (almost never, though), showing really is better than telling.

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  2. Info dump is what the 2nd draft razor is for.
    It's a big problem for me. I usually end up with most of the info in later drafts but it gets woven through.

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  3. Info dumping and telling the reader what to think are things I really struggle with. It's so hard not to tell everything - what if they don't get it?! But you do have to trust the reader and give them credit for intelligence, even when you're writing a picture book. I you give them the necessary stuff, they will get it. And if they don't end up picturing it in exactly the same way you do, that's okay too.

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  4. Info dumps. I've recently started noticing them in books. It's the part where I start to wonder when the story will move forward. Hopefully I can learn to spot them in my own writing.

    I read your whole critique and loved the part where your MC walked into the sunshine and heard the wings. I got shivers....Cool!

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  5. I have no trouble spotting info dumps in my work, but I have trouble fixing them. I've gotten better, though.

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  6. When I get info dumpy I want to tie my fingers together so I can't type. I think it becomes clearer with practice.

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  7. How much info dump you can get away with depends on what genre you're writing in. Obviously an actiony story you want to keep things movin.

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  8. I fight the urge to do so after I'm done writing and I go through and edit. Actually, I've been working on it for the past year to keep it sleek and to the point, sometimes even those feel infoy. Ugh...

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥

    Nice to meet a fellow crusader!

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  9. I think I have my moments of when I do a good job of keeping is simple and when I go into overload. But I guess I will truly know when my crit partners tell me to cut, cut, cut. lol Great post. I wanted to stop and say Hi! New follower and fellow crusader.

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  10. Hiya, buddy crusader! I'm making the rounds today and checking out your blog. Nice to meet you, and Happy Friday! :)

    Artzicarol Ramblings

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  11. Sorry it took me so long to comment back. My computer is doing the hebbie jebbie dance and technology doesn't really like me. Anywho, thanks for all the comments and I got around to all the new followers blogs . I think. Have a great weekend.

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  12. Ugh, so hard for me to avoid this too. I think it's a real trap because like you said, you want your reader to love your character as much as you do. Good job for putting yourself and your work out there like that!!!

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  13. My first drafts are kind of 'anything goes', so I let myself dump if I want and then when I do my editing, I read for info dumps and either eliminate or spread them out. I try to sneak the information in, the whole show-not-tell thing.

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  14. Hi fellow crusader! It's nice to meet you! I tend to info dump in my first drafts, but I sort of edit as I go as well. I know, bad habit. Anyway, when I finish my drafts, I go back and try to sneak in information through either dialogue, or cut a bunch of stuff. My critique partners keep my on my toes, so I don't get away with it much. :)

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