fixyourwritinghabits

grantcreynolds asked:

How can I get information into a character's (and the reader's) head that is too academic to just figure out on one's own, and without the agency of another character? In other words, how can I do a "research montage" that doesn't suck?

fixyourwritinghabits answered:

  • Treat it like a mystery. Your book is revealing information that is important to the plot - treat this information like the characters discovering clues, tantalizing bits of info that may lead to solving the case - or down the wrong path!
  • Skim boring stuff. Academic stuff gets boggled down and lags because that’s the format. You want to pluck out and present the important information. If you have to say ‘he spent five hours in the library,’ go ahead and say that.
  • Make comparisons. If anyone remembers the show Numb3rs, they explained complicated math stuff with somewhat silly comparisons that nonetheless managed to keep the visual medium going. You don’t have the visuals in writing, but you do have the option of having characters express complicated or boring ideas in different ways by using examples. If you’re having a lot of trouble, consider trying that.
  • Don’t hesitate to go through a few drafts. Info dumping is going to happen until you’re able to cut it down to the essentials. If your drafts get long and wandering, it’s okay to set them aside and work on them later.