Monday, July 30, 2012

Info Dumping and Modern Technology

I read a novel recently where characters researched other characters by using their smart phones to check out places like Facebook and the use the search engines for links.
To a certain extent, this worked.  The information was given in a tidy manner without some character thinking about his past or offering way to much information via dialogue, and these days, it’s a very common way to check someone out so it was realistic.
On the other hand, the writer went overboard with this technique by giving way too much time and attention to facts in a massive info dump at the very beginning and stalling the story for pages.  He also spoiled the reader’s fun of figuring out what makes this character tick and wondering about the dark hint some other character gives by mentioned the hero’s final Superbowl game.
Sure, the hero is a former NFL player, but the YouTube video of him accidentally killing another player during a tackle doesn’t have to be presented immediately if that information doesn’t inform the reader of what is happening at the present time.  Later, when the hero makes a comment about this moment changing his life, another character can watch the moment of YouTube.  
Just because information is easy to get for modern characters doesn’t mean that the reader needs all of it at the beginning of the story.