I hate this book.
That’s not true. I hate the slow burn. Bite me.
So I’m going to do the thing I did with last year’s Nano project and skip ahead, because what’s going on in the story right now is just dull and meandering and it’s just me working things out by writing them, and while there is nothing wrong with that it’s not what I want to spend the last 11 days of Camp doing. I want to get this ball rolling a lot faster than it is, so I’m going to skip to a point in this story where I can actually make things happen without having to think about it.
It’s telling that this part of the story is the same part that I skipped with my werewolf story and as of yet have not been able to bring myself to go back and write: the info-dump. I hate the info-dump. I think most people hate info-dumps; people like to understand what’s going on, but the info-dump is just not a fun way to do that, certainly not for me as a reader and, wouldn’t you know it, not for me as a writer either.
And I think I know what it is: I already know everything. The issue with writing the info-dump part of a story, for me, is trying to make it suspenseful, because when I’m writing it’s all about how I feel and, since I’m writing for myself, the suspense is directed to me. And since I already know everything (in terms of what’s going into the info-dump anyway), that suspense doesn’t work, and I end up putting more effort into trying to make myself feel something I can’t possibly feel rather than getting the information conveyed. It’s about as productive as it sounds. And it’s why I hate this book right now.
Skipping ahead, therefore, will solve this issue, because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I know what could happen, and this is where my “get it done fast even if it means using cliches” strategy can come into play, so I’m looking forward to that. But I don’t have a solid plan. I have a framework, I know the key points that are going to happen, but that’s different to knowing … lore, I guess. The info-dump is all about the Special World that the Hero has just fallen into, and while I guess it can serve as a break from a stretch of dramatic tension, very often it’s just done because the storyteller has not worked out a way to convey the information in a more creative manner. Harry Potter does this very well, at least to memory, because everything that Harry learns about the wizarding world is done through some kind of example, or is tied into character development or a key plot point. The fact that those books are set at a freaking school and yet never become exposition-dumps just hits the point home harder.
I guess what I hate is the “let’s sit down and talk about this” approach, which is what I tend to default into while writing, because it’s just easy. Have the characters sit down and talk, because there’s a bunch of information that the characters need to learn before they can do any of the fun stuff. It’s like the literary equivalent of a tutorial level, which in many cases I also hate, but there are creative exceptions. I think I just need to make a creative exception here; I didn’t manage to think of one for my werewolf story, but I might be able to redeem myself here.
And in fact, having written all of that, I’ve just thought of one that will save me from skipping anything. Another example of where writing problems can be solved by writing. And, perhaps, the start of me learning to make my info-dumps more interesting right off the bat.