Archive for August 13th, 2009

Aug 13 2009

The Onion Takes On Applied Phlebotinum in Sci-Fi

Published by under Comedy

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

It’s pretty funny.  By the way, if you replace “quantum flux” with “Speed Force” or “Pym particles,” it applies just as well to superhero stories as it does for sci-fi.

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Aug 13 2009

How to Avoid Info-Dumping

Info-dumping is when a story gives too much information, too quickly. Nicole Denis provides a useful introduction to the problem and offers some tips about how to use different scenarios to avoid it.  I have some suggestions of my own.

1.  When characters are conversing, give them an objective of their own, NOT “informing the readers.” This will reduce “as you know, Bob” dialogue where characters speak about information they already know.  Such dialogue is fatal because it lacks urgency– nothing is at stake if both speakers already know the information being discussed.  Contrast that with a conversation where an investigator is trying to grill a hostile witness for information.   High stakes usually make for more interesting scenes.  Another problem when the characters lack in-story motivation is that it compromises the audience’s respect for the characters.  If the characters aren’t doing anything except what the author wants them to do– even when it doesn’t make sense for them to do so– it will be hard for them to suspend their disbelief.

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