Wednesday, April 20, 2011

MGOC Contributor: Maria V. Snyder


EXCERPT from "Dumping the Info Dump" by Maria V. Snyder in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction:

Imagine with me… You're curled up on the couch in front of a roaring fireplace with your favorite beverage within easy reach. Sleet is clinking on the windows while you're reading. The story draws you in, the real world disappears, your beverage cools, and…..WHAM! You hit an information dump and are either rudely ejected from the story world or become mired in paragraph after paragraph of dull explanation.

An information dump -- also known as the "info dump" -- is just that. A large chunk of exposition used by writers to explain backstory, technology, characters, etc… Basically a huge pothole in the middle of the story, bringing the story's action to a screeching halt. Many readers will not recover and will seek another book to read in their cozy living rooms.

Maria V. Snyder changed careers from meteorologist to novelist when her first novel, Poison Study, was published in October 2005. Poison Study won the 2006 Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, the Salt Lake Co. Library's Reader's Choice award, was a 2005 Booksense pick, and received a Starred Review from Publisher's Weekly. Her second book Magic Study was a 2006 Booksense pick and a RITA Award Finalist. Her third "Study" book, Fire Study, earned her a place on the New York Times Bestseller list. She also completed a three book "Glass" series set in the same world and a YA science fiction thriller titled Inside Out. Maria received her M.A. from the Seton Hill Writing Popular Fiction program where she is now a mentor. She lives with her family in Pennsylvania. Visit her at

1 comment:

  1. So...MARIA V. SNYDER - what is the cost of mentoring..?? I would like to - dabble in writing and I have written a short story (or two - of eight) and I would like someone to read one and say: It's Junk - it has some legs - or this is fair to good - Needs more..!! Would you read one..?? They are truly short...but it is in a fantasy - outer worldly setting. I have a short - and a very long history of the setting to all my stories. It does fall into a "Info Dump" block as you would call it - but weather it is fiction or non-fiction don't you need to know just a bit - as to where or how the person got to here or there...surroundings - climate - land features - language - known and unknown dangers (either truth or folk lure) etc. Can you as a learned meteorologist - tell me the overall climate of - say - "Middle Earth"..?? I might be able to tell you a bit of - my world, if pushed..!! I am not trying to be no..!! I guess a word for me is "frustrated" - not knowing how near or far I am with "MY" stories. What's the cost of Mentoring..?? - Glen