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Alien Races: How much is too much?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Vanya, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. Vanya

    Vanya Dreamer

    I'm having trouble deciding if I'm bombarding the reader with too much information or not enough. I have quite a few different races, personalities of the race, and their culture and language. I'm introducing the characters throughout the book and explaining their race as they are introduced. I'm trying to keep the information simple and not go into too much detail unless it's pertinent to the plot. How can you tell if you're giving out too much information all at once? How can you tell if it's not enough details and confuse the reader?
  2. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

    Proof reading. It's a crucial step.

    But you're writing science fiction, so you have some leeway in the amount of exposition readers will accept. Try to make everything as to the point as possible. Use obvious exposition only for the core elements - the things that are necessary to understand the bare bones of the race - and let the rest become clear throughout interactions and story.

    To get back to proof reading. If you're worried about exposition, ask your proofreaders where they were bored, annoyed or confused. Bored will be too much exposition, annoyed will be unnecessary exposition and confused will be a lack of exposition or other forms of information in what has come before that point.

    If you let your story rest after you've written it, there's a chance you yourself will pick up on things like this. That's why that resting period is important.
    Vanya likes this.
  3. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    My rule of thumb is never give a lot of exposition in the first chapter but get the important stuff out there by the 1/3 mark. I think as long as you follow that rule you can have some leeway with giving a lot of information in a short amount of time.

    Beyond that, I think you just need to know how to simplify what you're saying. Don't spend a page explaining something that you could convey in two sentences. It's all about quality of exposition, not quantity.

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