Avoid Infodumps: Dole Out Information

As I write my current draft for my WIP called Traption, I am trying to avoid infodumps.

One way to avoid heaping a mound of story-stopping background details is to weave the information throughout the story. Use dialogue. Use a short flashback. Use inner monologue. Doling out the information a little here, a little there, can get that information to the reader in more interesting and organic ways.

So, here’s what I did to spread the info more discretely, AND keep track which detail goes where:

  1. First, I make a list of all the details and backstory I want to weave into the story.
  2. Next, I take each item on the list and assign them to all the different scenes in my WIP. One or two per scene. I number my scenes, but you can use a scene descriptor or chapter number.
  3. Next, I note a possible way to include each bit of information whether that be dialogue or a minor character, etc.

Here’s a fake list that exemplifies the process:

  • Dani was born in India / scene 1 / she shows Blythe her birth certificate
  • Charles used to date Steph / scene 3 / he sees her walking past the window with a guy
  • Blythe hates the color magenta / scene 4 / expression on her face at Dani’s dress
  • The city holds an annual go-cart race / scene 6 / dialogue between Dani and Charles
  • Steph use to have a crush on Charles / scene 10 / Dani’s inner monologue hints at it

And so on. Once each bit of information has been written into the draft, it can be checked off the list.

Photo by Alex Fu

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