Don’t “info dump” in your novel

In my last post, I talked about something totally not related to painting. I talked about how I was trying to get a fictional book published and how I made the first hurdle of having a literary agent interested in the book.

They read the first 10 pages and wanted more, so I sent them the requeated 40 more pages and a synopis.  Well…well, they passed on the book. I know. That sucked.

The silver lining here is that I got great feedback from the literary agent. Kudos to the Talcott Notch literary agency for taking the time out to give me some advice. Especially thanks to Kelly the intern. She said something along the lines of how I “overused extraneous details which greatly interfered (or slowed) the pace of the book.”

What the hell does that mean?

Well that was the question I had anyways. I emailed an actual  professional author I know, Kristina Riggle. If you have not read any of her books yet, you have to.  She is awesome. Anyway, she knew exactly what Kelly was saying.

It is called “info dumping.”

Basically it is when amateurs like me have to fulfill our desires to show the reader what the main scenes and characters are like early on. I mean, they just have to know what the hallway in the police department looks like and how tall the main character is, right?

Take the professionals’ advice…don’t do it. Don’t “info dump!” Hell, don’t even describe people that well. Let their dialog and actions describe them. Don’t give all those only-interesting-to-only-you facts about the city or the company you are writing about.

Don’t use all 5 senses to describe a room. Kristina used the example of decribing a newsroom by the sound of the presses and the smell of the ink. That is it. No more info needed.

Unless you are writing literary fiction, don’t do it! I think my problem is that I had been reading books off a list of the top 100 books of all time. Guess what – they are literary fiction. Guess what my book is – NOT literary fiction. I wrote a crime fiction book. You know…plot oriented.

If you are writing anything that is other than literary fiction, do youself a favor and do not “info dump.” Actually I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t “info dump” in a literary fiction book either. 🙂

Believe me, you would hate to go from the up of an interested literary agent to the down of be “passed” over because of it.

Good luck to any of you who are writing or painting or doing anything that is a gift to do. We are truly blessed!

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