Tuesday Tiny Writing Tip #35 – How to Avoid Info Dumps

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We’ve all come upon the notorious info dump – a huge chunk of information supplied all at once. It often sounds like enlisting facts and puts us off the story we are reading. There are three ways to avoid boring your readers with an info dump. One is given as Tuesday Tiny Writing Tip #7 about how to break down lengthy descriptions, another is “don’t give all the information at once” (obviously) and the third one is what we’ll discuss today: wording.

Think of what information you want to give to your readers and then of a way to present it in a more concise manner.

Here’s one simple example:

“Don’t worry about it, mate.”

“Mate?” The boy raised his eyebrows.

“I’m half British.” She shrugged.

What have we learned here?

There are two characters – one male and one female – and the girl is half British.

Let’s try that again.

“Don’t worry about it, mate.”

“Mate?” The boy raised his eyebrows.

“My dad was British.” She shrugged.

How about now?

Just one sentence changed, yet we know more about the girl: not only is she half British (otherwise she would’ve said “I’m British”), but she gets her British blood from her father’s side and he is dead (she said “was British”, not “is British”).

I know this example is pretty basic, but you can apply this to everything you write: when you want to give information, think of how to give the most data with the least amount of words.

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