Your first draft can be bad, granted, but when it is time to go back and bring your characters and your plot to life, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Don’t, just don’t include any info dumps in your story. Here’s an example:
Many years ago, the King of the north ruled the land alone. As the years went by, a knight decided to challenge the King. As he succeeded in this battle, he became the King of the south.
This is a very short info dump, but it is an info dump, nonetheless. If your story doesn’t actively take place when this knight challenges the King, this information should come out naturally through dialogue, while your main character is reading, or maybe when he/she is thinking about the past.
Here’s an example of bringing this info dump to life:
Astrid shook her head. “I don’t understand, Father.”
“We used to have only one King,” her Father said as he rose from his throne. “Many years ago, a brave knight challenged the King in the north. He was victorious, and as a result, got given the south.”
Astrid smiled. “Your grandfather?”
“Yes, the knight was my grandfather.”
Here, we get the information in a very natural way, through dialogue.
BUT, don’t info dump unnaturally. Avoid phrases like: “As you know, Astrid…”
If Astrid already knows what is going to be told, we can find it out some other way than through unnecessary dialogue.
When you browse through your novel and read it, scene by scene, make sure you put on a critical eye when reading them. Ask yourself the following questions, for each scene:
- Why is this scene important?
- Does this scene bring the plot, or the character, forward?
- Can I delete this scene? What effect would that have on the story?
Every scene should in some way bring your plot, or character, forward. This is to ensure the reader is constantly captivated and present while they read your novel.
A note on describing eyes
I had to have this included, as I laughed hard while reading this in Jodie Renner’s book ‘Fire up your fiction’ (Page 36)
- Don’t have eyes performing impossible actions.
“His eyes bounced back and forth between them.” (boing, boing, boing)
“Her eyes shot daggers at him.” (Ow!)
“She dropped her eyes to the floor.” (Splat!)
“Her eyes clung to his.” (Like Velcro)
“He devoured her with his eyes.” (Munch, Munch)
“Her eyes fell to her lap.” (Cushioned fall, at least)
If it is not physically possible, don’t do it! The reader often takes things literally.
Link to the work referenced: Fire Up Your Fiction
Lastly, have fun
I hope these tips have helped you, at least a little.
© Melina Wedin 2017