Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dumping info

Well, I survived Comic-Con International, but got the con crud- hence no post last week ;).

At the con, I did see a few TV show pilots.  One, Lucifer, will be out in January (I think) and was awesome.  Grabbed your attention, and if they play their cards right, they could really build some depth in.

The other, here on out known as "show two" didn't grab me at all, and the why's of it can be seen in novels as well as TV scripts.

Show two gave too much information at once- they literally dumped a couple eps worth of backstory into that one 45 minute chunk.  Info dump, thy name is "Show Two".

One of the dump issues was that they would have a scene just for the sole purpose of building backstory.  There was a murder-with the sole purpose, really, of showing us, "wow- there are people with distorted body parts!" (it's a space show folks ;)). Also, "Wow!  The jaded detective from the planet they are on is stuck with a wet behind the ears earther!"

There's nothing wrong with giving us that, but it could have easily been worked into something that was story related.  I guess the murder wasn't important because it's dropped a scene later.

Then our detective gets a new case, a missing debutante. So he goes talk to a woman in a bar to get some insight.  Do we get anything that will help him?  No, we simply find out that a) the two were an item previously, b) she herself was a runaway debutante. SHE gave him no help!

There were a few more, where information (backstory) was dumped on us, without any real information to propel the story forward. It would have been so much better to weave the backstory into the actual plot.

As writers, we want to tell our readers EVERYTHING at once.  But weaving backstory in, letting it move the plot forward, is going to work much better, be less intrusive, and actually gives more information to the reader.


  1. yuck, info just cuz the author knows the history. I like "gossip" but yeah, in a book, need it to further either character or story plot. Sometimes it hard to get it balanced.

    1. Very true, Dolorah. In this case they could have pulled in more plot pretty easily and made it so much stronger :(.

  2. I recently read an unpublished work that was filled with exposition, like the history of an object that is never seen again. Sometimes, it's just too much.

    1. I think it's too easy for some authors to think that since THEY love the backstory, others will too! Or they just get lazy ;).