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Pro tip: Remember to put lots of infodumping in your story!

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Kasper Hviid, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Death Note is an anime and the info dumps are all about the rules of using the Death Note, a book that kills anyone whose name is written in it. It’s all about the mind games the two MCs play with each other, so the rules are very important, and each time you learn shocking new things about the note.

    But now we’re kind of stretching the term infodump if we’re looking at things other than worldbuilding. Is a backstory an infodump? Or a character description? Or a battle plan in a war?
     
  2. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    The rules of a system fall into a gray area, but they certainly can turn into an infodump to people who bore easily (me). Anime and graphic novels fall into the snooze category for me, I have zero interest no matter what. But anyhow, to me the key word is “dump” not info. Any info can become a dump, ala Allanon in Sword of Shannara. Character description wouldn’t be an infodump, but one could go too far, LOL. A battle plan for a future battle would be similar, while a past war could be infodump.

    The basic premise of only give readers large chunks of exposition after they want it/are curious is basically True. It’s all a fine line, and I would also agree with people that the term is overused. Two sentences of exposition does not make an infodump, but I’ve seen people say that.
     
  3. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Well, so I began a loooooo...oooooooong comment exploring an A to Zed continuum of info dissemination, hoping to come to some conclusion about what is or is not a dump.

    But it was too long. I don't think I'll dump in this thread heh.
     
    Demesnedenoir likes this.
  4. Leonardo Pisano

    Leonardo Pisano Scribe

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    The real question is: WHY? My answer lies in the way the info presented is processed. If it evokes the left brain (rational processing) it's knocking the reader out of the fictional dream. If it engages emotion (the right brain) and the reader remains in the fictional dream, then in "works". Infodumping is usually processed with the left brain, i.e. analytically processing the (often dull) facts. That's why today the general advice is, imo, to avoid that.
     
  5. Arranah

    Arranah Troubadour

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    James Michener who was highly successful did it throughout his stories. I found myself skipping over things that were important to the story-line and stopped reading his stuff. It bored me the way he did it. I liked his book The Source. I liked the premise, but I probably skipped three-fourths of the book.
     
  6. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    I just read an info-dump in "The great ordeal" by R. Scott Bakker. And it was great. It was a few pages of what happened to a character over the past couple of years. It explained a lot about how he got where he was, but I doubt it has a major impact on the plot. The story could have been told without it. But I think the story was better for it.

    Why it worked (for me)?
    - for starters, it's epic fantasy. While genre is only a limited excuse, in epic fantasy there is a bit more room to add depth.
    - it was interesting. This character is first seen in the middle of the book, in the middle of an otherwise deserted battlefield. And afterwards , this infodump filled in some of the details of the battle which took place.
    - it was not at the beginning. I think this is an important part: You first are made to care about the characters and the world and only then you get an infodump which fills in a gap in the world history.
    - it was in character. It wasn't dry exposition. It was an entertaining story, told in the characters viewpoint.
     
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