Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Down with the Dumps?

Balancing back story with need to know is a terrible thing for most writers. Either's it's great or it's less than stellar. As a reader, sometimes I notice it. Others I don't.

Michelle Rowen admitted that this was her weakest writing spot, entitled Be Specific.

I am reading two books right now, one vampire romance, one highly successful urban fantasy book one to a series, and both have nailed me right in the first chapter with what I know in my heart is an "info dump." Pages of information to help bring the reader up to speed with the background, the characters and what they need to know to accept the story that is about to be told. I have a problem with info dumps because through all my reading about writing it was drummed into me that they are a Bad Thing. So I typically leave them out altogether, perhaps to a fault, thus making my writing non-specific, or hard to get a grasp on what the hell is going on. This is ironed out during editorial rewrites, of course (I think).

Michelle goes on to say in a second post (Stuff and Nonsense):

My last post about being specific is a good example of the difference between a blog entry and an article.


It's led me to a theory: all of the books on the shelf that are crap... that unpubbed writers wonder how they got published because the writing is terrible, the characters boring? I have a theory that they're published because they were specific in what they are about. That they don't wander. That their characters are specific types, even stereotypes, and sometimes that works. It doesn't work in a way that makes it a good solid read. But it works on paper. This is what the story is about. This is what happens. And this is the outcome.

I found this blog through Beyond Dusk and the posts about Michelle's writing group, the Write-Ons. Since then, I've found Michelle's blog to be funny, informative, and motivating. It also means that I'm going to be checking out someone of her books soon.

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