Friday, August 11, 2017

Too Much Information Kills Your Story

You have probably been told by editors, agents, and even your critique partners that your current story needs more depth. They want to know what that room REALLY looks like. They want to know the FULL reason why the character acts that way. While this information is certainly useful, when you over explain things or you go into far too much detail, the reader simply checks out.

There is a pretty good chance you have experienced this before when hearing someone tell you about something that happened in their life. We have a really great friend but when she starts telling us about her trip to Minnesota, she starts adding in all of this other information that we really don't need to understand the story. She will tell us that she left on a Thursday, and she remembered that because on Tuesday of that week she had to go to the doctor's office and that really slowed down her packing for the trip, because she was visiting her friend on Wednesday and this was the friend that she knew when she was working at the hospital right after college....

Do you get the idea?

The same goes for describing rooms or settings. Telling us briefly the decorations in the restaurant is fine, but when you go into describing every single picture and every nuance of the mean that is placed before the character, you have now reached the TMI level.

I also noted that all of the reasons why your character acts a particular way does not need to be over-done. I have noted that over and over here. Characters DO NOT need to have an extensive, soap-opera like lifestyle just to explain why they don't want to take the job, or to go on a date. It just might not be the right time. So tell us just that and keep the story moving.

What we are trying to do is to keep the reader connected to the plot. Don't kill them with that narrative.


  1. I'm doing a revision right now, pruning out details that I think can be omitted. My criteria, paragraph by paragraph is "what sentence could I get rid of without losing anything important?" Well, it seems I'm getting rid of quite a few. :-)