Monday, January 19, 2015

Summarizing Information

QUESTION: Should I include dialogue with minor characters in full, or should I simplify them in a few sentences skipping the entire dialogue part?

Say if the MC saved a town from an assault and he wanted to investigate on it, but first of all, how should he deal with the authority/police/kingdom? It was hard to believe that he could just walk out of it and go after the villain ignoring all the chaos involved, and that the authority would surely not let him go at ease?

Then, if he was to be questioned, and that the questioning might gives him more information about the villain he is going after, should the conversation between him and a "random officer playing almost no role in the story" be mentioned fully? If it is to be skipped, how to write it so that the "important information" he obtained in the questioning which will help him in his quest not left untold?

 I use the rule of three when I'm uncertain whether I need to write or keep a scene.  

If a scene doesn't contain at least one or two plot points (information or events which move the plot forward), and one or two character points (important character information) so that I have at least three points total, then it should be tossed, and whatever points included in that scene should be added to another scene.

In the case of that bit of dialogue, you can say something like this in another scene.  "On his way here, several of the soldiers had told him ****"  

Or you could have another important character summarize to the main character bits of information he'd picked up on the way to their meeting.

When I have a bunch of bits of information that needs to be given to the reader and the main character, I often get the main character to assign that search for information to a secondary character who can then summarize what he's found out.

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