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data dumps, how do you reconize them

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Old 03-29-2016, 03:18 PM
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Default data dumps, how do you reconize them


now I'm not saying I have the answer, I'm looking for it

the way I plan to do this is by posting the beginnings of three of my stories and taking commits on the concept of data dumps. at this point the story is not important and they may have been posted before but it's the data dump question that I'm trying to get under control.

the first opening is the beginnings of Libertine Captain Emilee Taylor


I just need a chance

The Chief Editor of the World Reporter gave me the evil eye as soon as I arrived. I don’t know why. I’m just five minutes late. I know he has another assignment to some dog show, fashion gala or other bit of unimportant fluff that he has put my name on. I’ve been working at the paper for almost two years and I still get rookie jobs. What I really want is one of the spots that are about to open on the crime reporting team. The entire crime team has volunteered to go to the war and report the happenings there. If any of them get a slot to go to the war then there will be an opening, maybe openings here on the crime team - and I want one of them. I don’t think I want anything to do with a war.

I also think I will see spots come and go on the crime team many times because, well I’m a female. There is no other way to say it. Even in this enlightened age of 2991, women are still treated like crap until they prove themselves as more than mothers; and much more than the man who judges them. The other side of that same coin is we are never given a chance to prove ourselves on important things like crime reporting because it’s too dangerous.

It’s been three hundred years since the Great War of 82 that put women back in the same status they survived in the early 1900s. The world sees us as baby machines, assets or property, something to be protected. Legally it’s not true but the reality is what the reality is – women are to make babies and not have a career outside the home. We’re fighting all the old battles all over again. Well, I am.

I’m not oblivious the rut we have fallen into; women have been protected since the last days of the War of 82. Maybe for good reason, the population of the entire earth was less than two million at that time. If the human race was going to survive we needed all the children we could get. I can understand that concept but…

The concept is simply not true today, 300 years later. The population is growing too fast and it needs to be slowed down. The possible flaw in my assertion is we are again being forced into a war that again will deplete our people. It is with the same creatures as the first war, we call them the Bastards.

The event that started the war all over again was the massacre of an Earth colony in the Kepler belt, Barr-Nickel, almost six years ago. Every living thing was killed by the Bastards. The government delayed and delayed our entry into the war saying they were building a force. The force they built, unless it’s a secret, isn’t much for a six year project. In my opinion they only prepared for the coming battle in earnest when it became apparent that the war was coming to Earth - like it or not. I guess even they finally got the message. In my opinion they had better get their heads out of the sand or the war was going to bite them right in the ass.

I went to my desk and to work. The Chief Editor just shook his head and went back to work.

The time came to announce the people who were going to the war at 10:15. That was when the circus started. I was engrossed in writing my copy about the church social at The Fourth Universal Church of The State; when the eight finalists for the three war slots paraded into the chief’s office.

I finished the sentence I was typing and just sat, watching. I wanted some of those guys, who volunteered to go to the war, to be from the crime team. I doubted I would get the empty slot but a girl can hope.
Three of the candidates were on the crime team. James (Jimmy) Blake was one of the ones I hoped would get a spot. He deserves to go where he might get killed. Why, he’s the chief of the crime team and I think one of the main reasons I can’t get a spot on the team.

He’s a - - - don’t read that as a word I’m just trying to think of a nice way to put this. I don’t like Jimmy. He’s asked me out twice and has been very forceful about it. He tried to coerce me into ‘a date’ with him saying he would give me a spot on the crime team. I was sure he was lying but still considered it for just a second before I slapped the hell out of him. We were standing right in front of the chief.

Afterwards, Jimmy and the chief talked for a while in his office, they were sort of laughing. When I talked to the chief there was no laughing, I barely got to keep my job; assault is a bad thing. I hope Jimmy gets to go report on the war very close to the front so his chances of being killed will increase.

As I looked around the outer office it seemed everyone was watching through the glass walls of the chief’s office to see if they could determine who was going to go.

There was a scream of a chair being scooted back and Jimmy was on his feet, very animated and yelling. We couldn’t understand the muffled words but they were loud and angry. I guess Jimmy didn’t get the nod to report on the war. It made me a little sad – not for him - but me.

The whole picture changed just a few seconds later. The chief stood and got him calmed before he let two men, Jimmy Blake and Frank Phelps stay in the office a while and talk. The rest of the candidates left the office. It seemed several of them were looking right at me.

The only thought in my head was that now there are two open spots on the crime team. I have to admit I was licking my lips. At least I had a chance; I might get one of them.
My hopes rose as I reasoned that Grant, will most likely be the new chief of the Crime Team. I get along with him. I tried to get him to tell me something about my chances for the crime team job as he passed my desk. He said softly when he passed. “I can’t talk right now.” My heart sort of fell, the spot on the crime team didn’t look promising.

Jimmy was raving at the chief again and Frank was just agreeing with a nod from time to time. The words were still muffled by the glass walls. The chief got them calm again and then opened his door and yelled. “Emily Taylor, get in here.” It startled me and I jumped, I wondered what he wanted me for. I smiled and reasoned that I was going to be assigned to the Crime team while Jimmy was gone and he didn’t like it at all. I smiled at my ‘reasoned’ new status as part of the crime team.

The reality was much stranger. I was to be assigned to the war team, something I really didn’t want. The owner of the paper wanted three reporters on the war team; but I was offered a spot on the Crime Team if I would turn down the spot. It was like the whole ‘if you go out with me and I’ll see if I can get you on the team’.

It sort of made me mad. I get stubborn when I get mad. It’s not one of my attractive traits but, it’s better than it used to be when I would just slug people. My therapist got me to wear dresses to help calm my urge to slug people. I’ve been doing that for two years, wearing dresses I mean. I can’t say it helped the inner me but I try not to slug people as a matter of self control. The urge is still there and I think stronger than ever.

The more important thought that entered and lingered in my mind was that this was a big deal and it could make or break my career. This single point in my life could be defined, at the present time, as a major career shaper. I asked a question and to them it seemed like a lightning bolt from the sky. “Why am I being considered for this job?” The answer was just as startling. I was one of three people in the office with a top security clearance. I asked when I got the clearance and got the most insane answer I ever heard. You have to have a top security clearance to report on highbrow national dog shows. Who would’ve thought?



The owner of the World Reporter wanted three people on this job and this was the group, the ones witha government required clearance.

It didn’t take much thinking to understand that I could go to the Crime Team. I also believed that I wouldn’t be allowed to do any reporting. I told them I would take the war correspondent slot. They didn’t like it but they didn’t seem surprised.


you can critique this if you like but what I'm really interested in is the concept of front or any other kind of 'Data Dump'.


Max Crash


I'll post the other two later under data dump 2 and 3, I know you have an opinion and I would like to read it.

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Last edited by max crash; 03-29-2016 at 03:20 PM..
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2016, 10:25 PM
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You recognise data dumps by the glazing of the eyes and the desire to go do something other than read and the need to fight off sleep.

You have a big chunk in there that, if I was buying, would see your MS in the reject pile.

There's no need for it. It's lazy writing.
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Old 04-02-2016, 12:13 AM
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Old 04-02-2016, 01:46 AM
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Paragraphs 3, 4, 5 and 6 are an unvarnished infodump.

Contrary to MikeC you can in fact do this. Part of the reason I read science fiction to experience a world that isn't my world, so you have to tell me what's different between my world and this world. If there are big differences, then an infodump is your best solution if you can make it interesting and entertaining.

Infodumps can be interesting and entertaining. Earlier today I found an infographic on the life cycle of an Arrakis sandworm that was interesting for me. But you have to build up credit with your reader before you can do them. If you show me a character I like, struggling manfully or womanfully against strong odds to achieve a goal that matters, in a world that interests me, and if I trust you to be entertaining, then you can infodump and I'll pay attention.

But you have to establish reader credit first, so infodumps in the first few chapters are to be avoided if at all possible. Begin by showing me a character under pressure.
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Non Serviam View Post
Contrary to MikeC you can in fact do this.
I didn't say you couldn't do it. I said there was no need for it. It's lazy and shoddy.

SF and fantasy are the big refuge of the infodumper, and unsurprisingly, the bastion of the inexperienced writer. But even where you have a genre (or 2) where the quality bar is historically not set very high, expectations need not necessarily be so low. Even a SF writer (and I consider myself one, so I'm not pointing fingers) can aspire to be something better than the rest of the bleating herd.

I agree that if you need to do it (and Herbert probably had more cause than most) then you need to build credit with your reader. Returning to the above excerpt, this doesn't do it. It swamps the page with irrelevant faction that need not be there. The writer could have easily given a snapshot of women's lost emancipation with a single line of dialogue instead of all that dull prose.
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Old 04-02-2016, 10:37 AM
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I haven't read much science fiction or fantasy. Could be why the only infodumps I read are on writing forums.

Usually the information isn't relevant or the author didn't bother to try and weave it into the story in a way that readers can absorb or discover the information naturally. It seems to me that if you were dropped into a new world that's how you would learn—as things develop. Everything wouldn't be revealed at once. So why write it that way?

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Old 04-02-2016, 12:51 PM
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i'm seeing some good commits about info dumps and it's at least not as confusing as 'show don't tell'.

at this point i'm not sure I can eliminate the info dump but I do believe I can make it more interesting.

let me add to the question, in this case the narrator is a writer, I myself thing in this type of info-dump, SO, does this add to the character, or is it such a subtle thing that the reader would miss the inference.


what do you think of just putting in a prologue with the information, i'm told that most readers don't read them - so i'd be stuck with the possible reader not knowing what was going on and stop reading or being very confused later in the story when these facts become important.

I've also thought about adding the facts in some sort of saying attributed to some historical someone in the story at the beginning of the paragraph where the facts do become important.

the point is; these facts need to be told and short of a conversation between Emily and a yet unknown historian - well, i'm still looking for a way and i'm sure i'll find one sooner or later.


max
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:43 PM
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Max, have you read Attwood's Handmaid's Tale? The premise appears to be very broadly the same. Read the book. All your questions will be answered.
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Old 04-03-2016, 02:29 PM
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ok my eyes glazed over about page four because I really didn't care what this place looked like. is that what I was suppose to learn.

I don't believe we are talking about the over description of a building, in my story, it is what Emily is thinking and some of the reasons why she is upset.

but I have revised the few paragraphs that were mentioned and am going to post them.


I will have to do an edit to post them or I will lose what I have written - hang on.


I wasn't sure just how much I need to post so you get the whole thing again.



I just need a chance

The Chief Editor of the World Reporter gave me the evil eye as soon as I arrived. I don’t know why. I’m just five minutes late. I know he has another assignment to some dog show, fashion gala or other bit of unimportant fluff that he’s put my name on. I’ve been working at the paper for almost two years and I still get rookie jobs. What I really want is one of the spots that are about to open on the crime reporting team. The entire crime team has volunteered to go to the war and report the happenings there. If any of them get a slot to go to the war then there will be an opening, maybe openings here on the crime team - and I want one of them. I don’t think I want anything to do with a war.

I also think I will see spots come and go on the crime team many times because, well I’m a female. There is no other way to say it. Even in this enlightened age of 2991, women are still treated like crap until they prove themselves as more than mothers; and much more than the man who judges them. The other side of that same coin is we are never given a chance to prove ourselves on important things like crime reporting because it’s too dangerous.


I went to my desk and to work. The Chief Editor just shook his head and went back to work.

The chief got around to announce the people who were going to the war at 10:15. That was when the circus started. I was engrossed in writing my copy about the church social at The Fourth Universal Church of The State; when the eight finalists for the three war slots paraded into the chief’s office.

I finished the sentence I was typing and just sat, watching. I wanted some of those guys, who volunteered to go to the war, to be from the crime team. I doubted I would get the empty slot but a girl can hope.


I’m not oblivious the rut women have fallen into; we have been over protected since the last days of the War of 82, three hundred years ago. Maybe for good reason, the population of the entire earth was less than two million at that time. If the human race was going to survive we needed all the children we could get. I can understand the concept that only women can have babies – so it is a real thing, but women’s rights have suffered.

The concept is simply not true today. The population is growing too fast today and it needs to be slowed down. The possible flaw in my assertion is we are again being forced into a war that again will deplete our people. It is with the same creatures as the first war, we call them the Bastards.
As the candidates for the war correspondent slot walked into the chiefs off I noticed three of them were on the crime team. James (Jimmy) Blake was one of the ones I hoped would get a spot. He deserves to go where he might get killed. Why, he’s the chief of the crime team and I think one of the main reasons I can’t get a spot on the team.

He’s a - - - don’t read that as a word I’m just trying to think of a nice way to put this. I don’t like Jimmy. He’s asked me out twice and has been very forceful about it. He tried to coerce me into ‘a date’ with him saying he would give me a spot on the crime team. I was sure he was lying but still considered it for just a second before I slapped the hell out of him. We were standing right in front of the chief.

Afterwards, Jimmy and the chief talked for a while in his office, they were sort of laughing. When I talked to the chief there was no laughing, I barely got to keep my job; assault is a bad thing. I hope Jimmy gets to go report on the war very close to the front so his chances of being killed will increase.

As I looked around the outer office it seemed everyone was watching through the glass walls of the chief’s office to see if they could determine who was going to go.

The scream of a chair being scooted back, Jimmy was on his feet, very animated and yelling. We couldn’t understand the muffled words but they were loud and angry. I guess Jimmy didn’t get the nod to report on the war. It made me a little sad – not for him - but me.

The whole picture changed just a few seconds later. The chief stood and got him calmed before he let two men, Jimmy Blake and Frank Phelps stay in the office a while and talk. The rest of the candidates left the office. It seemed several of them were looking right at me.

The only thought in my head was that now there are two open spots on the crime team. I have to admit I was licking my lips. At least I had a chance; I might get one of them.
My hopes rose again as I reasoned that Grant, will most likely be the new chief of the Crime Team. I get along with him. I tried to get him to tell me something about my chances for the crime team job as he passed my desk. He said softly when he passed. “I can’t talk right now.” My heart sort of fell, the spot on the crime team didn’t look promising.

Jimmy was raving at the chief again and Frank was just agreeing with a nod from time to time. The words were still muffled by the glass walls. The chief got them calm again and then opened his door and yelled. “Emily Taylor, get in here.” It startled me and I jumped, I wondered what he wanted me for. I smiled and reasoned that I was going to be assigned to the Crime team while Jimmy was gone and he didn’t like it at all. I smiled at my ‘reasoned’ new status as part of the crime team.

The reality was much stranger. I was to be assigned to the war team, something I really didn’t want. The owner of the paper wanted three reporters on the war team; but I was offered a spot on the Crime Team if I would turn down the spot. It was like the whole ‘if you go out with me and I’ll see if I can get you on the team’.

It sort of made me mad. I get stubborn when I get mad. It’s not one of my attractive traits but, it’s better than it used to be when I would just slug people. My therapist got me to wear dresses to help calm my urge to slug people. I’ve been doing that for two years, wearing dresses I mean. I can’t say it helped the inner me but I try not to slug people as a matter of self-control. The urge is still there and I think stronger than ever.

The more important thought that entered and lingered in my mind was that this was a big deal and it could make or break my career. This single point in my life could be defined, at the present time, as a major career shaper. I asked a question and to them it seemed like a lightning bolt from the sky. “Why am I being considered for this job?” The answer was just as startling. I was one of three people in the office with a top security clearance. I asked when I got the clearance and got the most insane answer I ever heard. You have to have a top security clearance to report on highbrow national dog shows.

Who would’ve thought?



The owner of the World Reporter wanted three people on this job and this was the group, the ones with a government required clearance.

It didn’t take much thinking to understand that I could go to the Crime Team. I also believed that I wouldn’t be allowed to do any reporting. I told them I would take the war correspondent slot. They didn’t like it but they didn’t seem surprised.
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Last edited by max crash; 04-03-2016 at 02:34 PM.. Reason: to post changes to the story
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by fleamailman View Post
("...missed you Mike C, can't think why though but I sure did..." smiled the goblin upon seeing the post now)
Me too. The missing, not the not knowing why, because I do know why lol.

Good to see you Mike!
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:23 AM
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I've found info dumps only make an appearance when the writing is poor quality or the writer doesnt know how to tell a story without explaining the story. I've read F/SF where that doesnt happen and other fiction where it does, so it doesnt have to be a prerequisite for certain genres. It's more a weak writer thing.

Max, I read some of your op and it seems interesting, though yeah, I glazed over halfway through. You've got your world and its history in your head or in note form as you write, I presume? So just tell your character's story within that world, and the history and other pertinent stuff will reveal itself as you go. You're trying to "tell" people about the world but you don't have to and thats whats coming across as eye-glazing info dumping.
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Old 04-04-2016, 01:53 PM
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I just posted a story called Gen-NA-vive in fiction, it a stand alone story and has (I don't thing) no data dump. it really bothered me to post the story because how can a reader understand the story and not have read the million word that created that world.

anyway, any input would be nice. there is only about a thousand more words if you want to see them, but I think they have a data dump in the form of a briefing.

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Old 04-05-2016, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by max crash View Post
I just need a chance

The Chief Editor of the World Reporter gave me the evil eye as soon as I arrived. I donít know why. Iím just five minutes late. I know he has another assignment to some dog show, fashion gala or other bit of unimportant fluff that heís put my name on. Iíve been working at the paper for almost two years and I still get rookie jobs. What I really want is one of the spots that are about to open on the crime reporting team. The entire crime team has volunteered to go to the war and report the happenings there. If any of them get a slot to go to the war then there will be an opening, maybe openings here on the crime team - and I want one of them. I donít think I want anything to do with a war.
[/FONT]
What about something like this? You can convey a lot about attitudes etc with dialogue and you can give enough to make people know that things aren't as they seem.

Five lousy minutes late and the Chief Editor gives me the evil eye. I give him it right back and say "Hey Chief, when am I going to get my break? I've been here 2 years and all I get is the rookie jobs. When am I going to get a chance on the crime desk? You put Brad there, he's only been here six months and you know I write better than him!"

He looked me up and down with contempt. That look men always give women that get above their station.

"You know why. You're a chick. Think yourself lucky I'm a liberal guy, else you'd be at home makin' babies like your kind are supposed to. Now go write me something exciting about chintz - after you've got me a coffee!"

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Old 04-05-2016, 01:32 PM
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wyf, your concept may work and I will look into some form of it.

now this is one of my points about data dump. I thought, someone would have picked up on Emily's very low key and long winded thought process. she is very deliberate and has to explain things to herself because she is 'higher than kite' (if you will) on fluoxetine (Prozac)

she has a militant aggressive personality that is not accepted in the world she lives and it has to be curbed.

it severs her well later when she is the master and commander of a Libertine war dragon, running guns to and liquor from moon base alpha.

so I'll give you another shot at rewriting the dump with this new knowledge - if you'd like.

I will add that somewhere in this mess there is a thread /section called 'character development' or something like that, Emily Taylor has her own thread.


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