DUMP THE INFO DUMP: THE WORKSHOP
How to write succinctly and keep the attention of your reader
Say you’re starting work on your latest story. You’ve just done a ton of research on it to get all the details right, down to the outer ridge of your heroine’s boot, manufactured in Kokomo, Indiana, having a distinctive triangular pattern as a post-modern variation of a 15th-century Native American design from the Humptulips, WA, region. You are proud of what you’ve done, and who could blame you? Inspired, you want to bring the reader into the story and you want him or her to be as fascinated and intrigued by it as you are. But you make a small tactical error. You dump all this stuff at the beginning of your story so they can get started on the wonderfulness that is your story…
And you are left scratching your head when the readers don’t come, or they read the first couple of pages…and wander away, choosing not to continue. What happened? Why weren’t they fascinated? What’s wrong with them?!
So how much research is just right? What’s the tidbit to work in, what isn’t? Here are some tricks and tips to keep in mind when it comes to making the best use of your research, along with some examples.