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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Better way to Info Dump

I'm still waiting for more volunteers to send me pieces. Don't be shy, we all have areas we need to work on. And to show you what I mean, I found a portion I haven't gotten to yet that my lovely beta reader pointed out as an info dump.

Setup: My MC just met this woman and wants to know more about her so he "Yaggled" her (in the future, Yahoo & Google merge =) My own corrections are in purple (purple is nicer than red)

“Geraldine Louise Harper,” Cooper announced read from the card she had given him. The screen brought up several articles to choose from. He found an article about her opened an interview of Geri's father, Dr. Joseph Lee Harper. It was an interview with him about his philanthropic He seemed to be a philanthropist, worked with inner city children,. He was a retired pediatrician, and. He was also a board member of the Historical Preservation Society of Georgia. Apparently his only family left was In the article he talked about his lovely daughter. She was born and raised a true his Southern Belle daughter, whose in honor of her mother, Celia, who died when Geri was young. Cooper felt a pang for her. He understood loss. 
Cooper opened another article, about Geri. She briefly attended Emory University and participated in a couple of protests against the Smart Car Revolution. Interesting. A real rebel. Dawson wouldn’t like that, he thought with a chuckle.
He opened another article about modern day debutantes. It said The article described Geri Harper was as a modern day debutante, whatever that was. a respectable Southern woman with many ambitions and a positive influence in the community. She was a member of belonged to a long list of women's groups and children's organizations, soft hearted like her father. the League of Women Voters, the Atlanta Women’s Club and the Georgia Historical Society. She instituted the Celia B. Harper Foundation in support of orphans and single parent families. The article commended her. It said she didn’t let her divorce slow her down. She stayed active in her volunteer work and had gone back to school to further her education. She was currently enrolled at Georgia State University as an interior design major. He finished reading and smiled. Impressive resume, Cooper mused. Maybe he would look her up again when this mess was resolved.

So that was fun. I didn't need all those details. My MC's opinion of her is what needs to be shown. We get to know enough about her and more about him at the same time. (And I got a little editing done, thanks!) What do you think?


Huntress said...

His internal thought, "...Interesting. A real rebel. Dawson wouldn’t like that..." is good and I like it. But I am of two minds about the attribute that follows: "...he thought with a chuckle..."

Maybe too much explaining, the ‘chuckle’?

Since the thought is in italics, does it need the tag?
Don't know, I'm just thinking, wondering.

Tara Tyler said...

i've been told that before so it must be true =)

Liz Fichera said...

I do love "Yaggled." That is brilliant. :-) Since it's a futuristic story, my curiosity was definitely peaked. The edited version reads much tighter. I think whenever you get into these info-like dumping sections, less is more. Am intrigued to read more.

Only comment: Geraldine doesn't seem like a futuristic name, but I like Geri. Am assuming she's named after a great-great-great-great grandmother, or something? :)

Charity Bradford said...

I loved the changes you made. It's great to see how an author can cut all that back story and boil it down to a few well thought out phrases.

The only other thing that jumped out to me wasn't a back story issue, but the "He seemed to be a philanthropist..." Seemed is weak and I thought, either he is or he isn't.

I'm only pointing this out because I do it ALL the time and wondered if anyone else had good ways to avoid the "seemed" trap.

Brooke R. Busse said...

With seemed, I only use it if the character for some reason can't see correctly or doesn't understand something completely. With Charity's example from your excerpt, I agree with the 'he is or he isn't'.

I also edit with purple. :)

Draven Ames said...

Great to see that you take edits so well. So many people don't, but beta readers who find all the red are lifesavers. I love my readers, as I'm sure you do, too. I like most of the changes.

Tara Tyler said...

Liz, thanks! your assumption about Geri's name is correct =)

Charity, seemed is weak. I will tweak =)

Brooke, I always count on straightforward honesty from you and it is always appreciated! and so is the elaboration! yay purple!

Draven, I want people to like/love my story! who cares if only I love it, we are going for majority here! I also know I need improvement. I welcome any colorful comments and use them as I see fit.

You guys usually make sense and criticism is easier to take with an explanation. Thanks!

mshatch said...

you reader did a great job cutting out the unnecessary parts :)