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Another Night… day 3 – info dump

today saw 4 pages written, which was fine. i’m trying to get myself to stick to 3 pages each day, and yesterday i only got 1.5, so i’m trying to catch up. maybe tomorrow. i did a little math and since i’m writing cramped-style so far, i’m putting about 500 words per page. that puts me at about 5500 words (about 22 typed pages) in four days, which is fine to start.

the problem is, i’m still in what i expected to be a short prologue. my wife laughed when she heard me say this, and rightly so. i can’t do anything briefly, particularly on the first draft, and i should just accept it. the truly frustrating thing, though, is that i really like most of what i’ve written. some i already know needs to be trimmed/cut, but overall, i really like the dynamics in the characters and the world- and story-building that’s developing.

this story is taking place in a distinctive new world that requires a bit of explanation for the reader, so i’m working hard to layer in the ‘info dump’ elements without them feeling or sounding like info dumps. my work this morning was almost completely around this, and when i stopped to look at what i’d done, i was frustrated at the length but really amused and excited by it, too. tonight’s work needs a night’s sleep to consider objectively*, though, and it’s again past my bedtime. i’m a much better morning person.

learnings:

– i’ve kept on with that other secondary character, though i know i played a little loose with her personality this evening. that will need some addressing.

– i’m stuck back on the ‘start with a bang’ idea versus start a bit** slower. i know the current trend is to start active and get more active, but i don’t know if i can write that way. it’s certainly not my first tendency, anyway, and i’m trying to decide whether i should be forcing that tendency aside or accepting it. i like it as it is, it feels comfortable, but that is not a good enough reason, i don’t think.

* which is a pretty good flag that it needs to be fixed significantly, but possibly not…

** actually, a 22 page prologue is more than ‘a bit’, isn’t it?

2 Comments
  1. If the conversation/narrative is engaging and useful for the reader to understand the characters and get to know them then in my opinion go for it. Where that type of thing falls down is when there’s inconsequential non-engaging dialog or endless descriptive narrative that looses the readers interest. As long as it’s engaging it doesn’t have to be action packed…. although I know I’ve personally insinuated that was my preference to you before…. I just don’t want my mind wandering to my life while I’m supposed to be so caught up in what I’m reading that I forget my life (temporarily)… that for me is the goal of reading a good story… to relax and escape reality for a while.

  2. quite so, but this is where i run into difficulty: i like action and wild rides, but i also like involved and thoughtful discussions. the easiest example i have of this is Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey & Maturin series, where the several-page digressions are as delicious and enjoyable as the straight up action is immediate and thrilling. would that i had that skill (though O’Brian also played extremely loose with certain elements of grammar and technical style, which i somehow accept from him, but in few others). the core, then, is the quality of the characters, i suppose, like certain actors. there are some people that i might actually pay to just watch eat dinner.

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