Friday, March 25, 2016

Are We There Yet?

I'm on another deadline. So what else is new, right? This is my last one for a while but getting there feels like a long trip down a dry and dusty road.

I'm not having trouble with the story. I know exactly where I need to go and I like the story. It's just that I've been working on the same scene for four days now and I want it to be OVER. I want to move on to the next scene. More importantly, I want to be heading closer manuscript-wise to hitting my deadline.

The thing is, it's a very important scene that started with a lot of action but also contains a lot of information that needs to be given to the reader and the protagonist without sounding like a data dump.

What's a data dump, you ask?

In my paralegal world, data dump means when the other side of a deal inundates you with boxes and boxes of documents needed to be reviewed for due diligence. At least in the not so far off past it was boxes and boxes. Now everything is digitally stored in an online data room. Still, unless the files that have been uploaded by the other side have been properly filed and titled, it's still a data dump that can take hours of valuable time to sort through to determine what's important and what isn't, and what needs to be downloaded and reviewed.

In the writing world a data dump is when an author stuffs a lot of important information into a scene to make sure it gets transmitted to the reader. It can be back story, clues, or character information. Somehow all that information has to be relayed in a smooth and entertaining way so that the reader can't tell it's a data dump. It has to be woven into the dialogue or story seamlessly, naturally, so that the reader can consider it without feeling burdened or bored.

Putting the information on the page isn't what is taking me so long. It's putting it on the page in a such a way that the reader can't tell it's a data dump.

And that is the issue I've been dealing with ... for four long writing sessions. And there were be several more of these along the way. [insert groan here]

Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be out of this scene and on to the next action in the book. I've got some pretty fun stuff coming up and I really want to get to it. Like I said, a long dusty trip, but at the end is the reward of a fun destination.  Kind of like fighting So Cal traffic to get to Disneyland.

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