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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Finding the Info Dump

At the end of chapter three of my first novel, Elswyk's Moon, I have my main character and her best (and only) friend having lunch together. The primary reason for the scene is so that the friend can tell Elswyk at length about how much she hates another character who is yet to be introduced.

"Oh, where to begin? He’s condescending. He always seems like he’s laughing at you, unless of course you are a nubile young thing, and then he’s probably flirting with that obnoxious charm of his,” she explained.

And the friend goes on about this. For 782 words.

On the one hand, I do want to introduce this character. He shows up in chapter seven, and he plays a major role in the rest of the story. His relationship to Elswyk's friend becomes very important towards the lead up to the climax.

But, we haven’t met the guy yet. And we will. His relationship to Elswyk's friend is readily apparent the minute he shows up.

The whole section reads like an info dump, probably because it is.

At the time, I thought that it would be better to mention this character early so that his arrival wouldn't come out of nowhere. Now I see the mistake. Sure, I can mention the character’s name. As he’s connected to several of the other characters, his name will naturally come up. My mistake was drawing too much attention to him before his entrance.

This means that entire lunch scene can be cut. That’s no major loss. It was a stupid scene anyway.

How do you subtly introduce a character who will become a major player later in the story?

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