Thursday, July 12, 2012

Research Dumps in Your Manuscript

Writer friends....what are your thoughts and/or practices about including facts from your research in your MS?

My current project is set in Oaxaca (pronounced Wa-hawk-a) Mexico during Day of the Dead festivities. THERE ARE A MILLION COOL AND INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THIS PLACE AND THIS HOLIDAY. All those facts are great for nonfiction books and travel guides, however info dumps like that make for great big road blocks in the progression of your fictitious story that is not, I repeat to myself, not primarily about all those cool and interesting facts.

So right now, I'm taking a sprinkle lightly and pepper approach for info that relates most directly to the story. Realizing that I am probably still being a bit heavy handed with the information shaker.

Have you written a book that required the judicious use of research. How did you handle info dumps?? Any words of advice...


  1. I think it's very hard to do info dumps, because it's incredibly difficult to do them subtly and no writer wants to appear as if they're saying 'hey, look at all this information I spent hours researching!' So I would take your approach and tailor the information you use. If the info isn't entirely need to know, honestly I would say don't use it. Don't let yourself get detracted from the story. Sometimes research can be better used simply for your own world building - make sure any information you include is purely beneficial for the reader. There's nothing worse than reading a long paragraph and thinking: 'none of that related to the story'. So be careful is my advice! Good luck with it, Rebecca!

    1. Thanks for the great advice! Sorry it's taken me so long to respond...I've been hiding in tent, unplugged, for the last 5 days. That point you make about making sure the info is beneficial to the reader, I think I'll type that up and hang it on my screen. It's too easy to get excited about all you're learning about a place or event and cram it in.