Info Dumps? Ugh!
Data Reports? Ugh!
Terms and Conditions in Contracts? Ugh!
Statistic Notes? Double Ugh!
If you've ever experienced the torture of having to read dry materials because you needed the information that was packaged in the most painful ways to your retinas and cognitive department, you should refrain from doing this to your readers.
In today's blog, I will share some Aitsuji tips about repackaging your heavily informative writing in more interesting ways that would not only be less painful and easier to digest, but slightly entertaining.
Patreons to credit: -This could be you. Join now.-
#1: Be Systematic
Think of it this way, if you organise the information for the readers in a sequence that their brain can absorb right away, the time taken to digest the info dump would be faster. Organising the sequence of your information in a way that is easy to follow will help make the info dump less daunting one word at a time.
Sure, there will be writers who claim otherwise that the excitement lies in the chaos. If that is what you feel, then, by all means, do what you normally do and watch your readers complain. I'm not telling you what to do but only sharing what you can do.
#2: Remove Redundancy
This is probably a common mistake. Many of us use fillers because it helps us with our thought process. However, the readers do not need to understand our 700-step thought process to derive at this wonderful conclusion that penguins fly in the new world we created. Just give the readers what they want and keep that thought process for another blog.
Readers who are interested in an author's thought process will go the extra mile to read your rants and listen to your podcasts about the BTS process.
#3: Throw a Fast Ball
Cut to the chase! I know some writers think that the more they describe, the better the picture they can paint with words.
In some cases, this works. However, when you are in an info dump, this only adds contempt. With a systematic delivery of information, it is usually better to only give what is immediately relevant after letting readers know the skeleton and what they can expect from the story. You don't have to flesh out everything and give it all to them at once.
Pace it. You can flesh out the details with more room for imagination later.
#4: Give Breathers
This is related to pacing in writing. If you don't know what that is, read my previous blog. Remember that rest is almost as important as work. For readers who are constantly bombarded by new information in a story or world that they are not familiar with, give them space as a writer.
It's the same concept with healthy relationships. You don't try to control your partner in a relationship. You give them time and space to freely express who they are and nourish them with your affection. Don't suffocate your readers by giving too much. They can't cope with your voracious desire to be understood!
#5: Use Stories and Examples to Make Your Point Pop
Sometimes, we deem facts as boring. It's difficult to remember a new fact without any experience to relate to it. It's worse for fictional worlds because only the author is acquainted with them. Readers need to be incorporated into the environment and made to experience the world alongside the author as a companion and not a bystander.
Stories and relatable examples are some ways that readers can connect with your world. It's the same reason why memes are very powerful. Anything that an author can share with a reader that they can understand is a new connection formed. Use these to cement your information so that the readers can move forward feeling more confident about your work.
The human attention span lasts for only so long. No matter how enthusiastic you are about something, the focus will wander. For anything that is important, it is better to repeat it for greater emphasis.
Hence, a short summary about the main point at the end of a scene or paragraph during an info dump will help the reader retain the information better for longer.
#7: Use a Lighter Tone
Most arguments start not because of a conflict in idea but because of the choice of words and tone. It is the same for many things. Tone is something that creates the first impression in any message and the subtlest of details can completely change a reader's perspective of what they are about to read.
Reading a book is a heavy time and emotional investment. Apart from quality content, a reader must be able to vibe with what they are reading through an author's voice. You're not automatically besties without work so don't expect your reader to love you for the amazing person you are without showing them that you're worth their time.
Start easy and slowly welcome them into your world. You don't want to come off too strongly right off the bat, they will run. Think of writing like flirting. Start light and easy, use a fun tone to banter with their thinking and draw them in charmingly. Before they know it, they're turning to the next page and staying up all night because they simply couldn't put your book down without knowing what's going to happen next!
The purpose of pacing heavily informative writing is not to confuse the reader or provide less information. Just like how your sore muscles require active rest before you can train them to flex harder, a reader's mind requires enough time to cope with the stress you are giving them.
With enough practice, you will find it easier to develop a skill in identifying potential data dumps in your writing and stop yourself before the word vomit occurs. A good rule of thumb to know if your writing is starting to look cluttered is to measure a scene, sentence and paragraph length. If you stayed too long on the same topic with far too many words, that's a tell-tale sign of a data dump.