Too Much Information

Novel’s at 73,653 words.

Still pushing forward, thought the last few scenes have been hard for me to write. Usually that’s because I don’t know enough about something in the scene – how a bail hearing would be conducted, or the cooking techniques of feudal Japan – to feel comfortable writing it. This time, it’s because I know too much about what’s happening in the scene.

Specifically, I know things that, if my characters knew them, would make accomplishing their goals much easier. But they don’t work in the field, like I do, and so their knowledge is limited.

But how limited? How much should they know, and how much are they ignorant of? How much would just be common sense?

And even for the things they do know, or that they stumble on that work, how much detail should I go into as to what’s happening? How much info do I dare dump on the poor reader?

It’s striking that balance – between showing too much detail and not enough, between thinking the characters know more than they should versus not giving them enough credit – that’s been difficult for me.

Ron Toland @mindbat