Info Dumping

Pacing Information in a Story

Think of information as a jar of cookies. A large jar. You need your reader to eat all of them.

Sometimes you have to start off with three cookies, but dumping the jar of cookies in total on your reader won’t entice them to eat them all. In fact they might just up and walk off, considering it abuse. Three’s a good number, a nice bribe without being overwhelming.

Then for a while you need to just pass them cookies one at a time, as needed, as they finish the others. Sometimes two or three cookies as you go is okay. But not too many times in a row. You don’t want your reader to get stuffed and wander off because they’re not hungry anymore. Just pace yourself to how fast those cookies can be eaten. Small cookies can disappear quickly, where bigger ones take longer, and that plate sized one…well, you might have to break that thing in half to not overwhelm them.

And of course, there’s always a few cookies that are the best and tastiest. You have to be careful to pass those out at the right intervals. If you wait too long to start passing them, your reader will get upset and huff off. If you give them all out too soon, then your reader will be disappointed that there’s none left at the end.