Can You Work Through an Information Dump?

I sometimes have to give up on a book without finishing it. Why? Because I can’t read through a long information dump. It’s just too boring. 


If you’re on Goodreads you will know that your friends can recommend books they’ve enjoyed. I usually prefer to choose books on my own, but I weakened and downloaded a book that was recommended to me. I thought the blurb and the plot sounded like it would be the kind of book I enjoy. But no. I never found out if the story was any good or not.

What is an information dump?  It’s when an author wants to tell you the back story of the characters. This can be done in a few different ways, but one way is for an ‘omnipresent third person’ (OP3) a.k.a. the author, to tell the story. Another way is to have the characters think back, and the third (and best way in my opinion) is through dialogue.


The problem with the first method is that, apart from the fact that it isn’t the way books are supposed to be written these days, we as readers need to become invested in a character before we care about their back story.

I am not going to mention the title or author of this book because it’s not my intention to discredit anyone, but the author took the reader through four decades of back story of the four women who have played bridge since they were in their twenties. That’s a very large information dump. I hardly knew any of the characters, so it didn’t mean anything to me.
As an author, I have probably been guilty of the same thing in the past, but I most definitely won’t be in the future. In fact, I’m currently working on ‘Fat Girls Rock’ and because it is the 4th in a series, (Redneck P.I. Mystery Series) I have to keep giving information about what has happened in the past. I’m doing so by breaking it up and spreading it out as far as I can and using as much dialogue as possible. It’s not easy, but I think I’m keeping it credible.

Something to think about.

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Can You Work Through an Information Dump?

I sometimes have to give up on a book without finishing it. Why? Because I can’t read through a long information dump. It’s just too boring. 


If you’re on Goodreads you will know that your friends can recommend books they’ve enjoyed. I usually prefer to choose books on my own, but I weakened and downloaded a book that was recommended to me. I thought the blurb and the plot sounded like it would be the kind of book I enjoy. But no. I never found out if the story was any good or not.

What is an information dump?  It’s when an author wants to tell you the back story of the characters. This can be done in a few different ways, but one way is for an ‘omnipresent third person’ (OP3) a.k.a. the author, to tell the story. Another way is to have the characters think back, and the third (and best way in my opinion) is through dialogue.


The problem with the first method is that, apart from the fact that it isn’t the way books are supposed to be written these days, we as readers need to become invested in a character before we care about their back story.

I am not going to mention the title or author of this book because it’s not my intention to discredit anyone, but the author took the reader through four decades of back story of the four women who have played bridge since they were in their twenties. That’s a very large information dump. I hardly knew any of the characters, so it didn’t mean anything to me.

As an author, I have probably been guilty of the same thing in the past, but I most definitely won’t be in the future. In fact, I’m currently working on ‘Fat Girls Rock’ and because it is the 4th in a series, (Redneck P.I. Mystery Series) I have to keep giving information about what has happened in the past. I’m doing so by breaking it up and spreading it out as far as I can and using as much dialogue as possible. It’s not easy, but I think I’m keeping it credible.

Something to think about.

Best-Seller Hopes for Authors

Almost every writer has a dream about breaking out—or achieving best-seller status. Many of us think it’s an impossibility, but recently I read something to change all of that.

I joined Romance Writers of America (RWA), and one of the two significant positives I’ve gained from belonging to the organization is their monthly magazine. In the March issue, five authors who have recently broken out are interviewed. The crazy thing—no one author could offer a single specific strategy that caused her book to break out.
Brenda Novak says she didn’t do anything particularly different with Trust Me, her seventh single title.

Robyn Carr broke out with her 25th novel, Virgin River Christmas, 30 years after selling her first book. She had embarked on an aggressive marketing promotion when she started her Virgin River series, but she didn’t do anything to focus on that particular book, the 4th in the series.
Susan Mallery broke out 16 years after her first book was published with Accidentally Yours. She didn’t do anything different to promote it, but attributes her success in part to likeable characters.
Marie Force’s 25th published book, Waiting for Love was book eight in the Gansett Island Series. She self-published the book, and spent a lot of time building a Facebook following. She believes the world she has created in the series is what readers responded to.
Kristan Higgins made the best-seller list with her fourth book, Too Good to be True.
The information I got from all five interviews was this:
―You must keep writing. Like everything else, it takes practice to hone the craft.
―Create likeable and memorable characters.
―If the setting is unforgettable, readers will want to visit it again.
―Most importantly it is the readers who make your book a best-seller.

If you write romance, it probably wouldn’t hurt to read all of their books and learn from them. Even if you don’t write romance, I hope if you are an author, you’ll find this info useful and accept that writing a best-seller takes time and experience. 

Petiquette — Teach Your Kids to Treat Pets Kindly

Last night I watched an episode of  ‘My Cat From Hell’ that was of particular interest to me. Teaching kids to treat their pets with respect. 

The episode showed a family with two cats, one that was so laid back it didn’t seem to care what the kids did with it. It just flopped about in their arms and allowed them to tip it upside down and one kid ever tried to put it into the refrigerator. Basically, the child treated it like it was a stuffed toy. The other cat, understandably, was terrified of the kids, and scratched and spat whenever anyone reached out a hand toward it–or a foot as one of the children did, threatening to kick it.

My peeve is that some parents don’t seem to notice, as was the case with this family. I don’t imagine for one second that they would deliberately be unkind to animals. They’re just uninformed. The cats or dogs either submit to a life of hell, or rebel, and get sent to the shelter or euthanized because they are considered dangerous.

I commend the cat whisperer, Jackson, for his patience and consideration in this episode, in which he admitted he knew nothing about kids or how to get through to them, but he did, in fact, achieve this. He even took the time to visit the children’s school and teach their classmates how to treat animals–what to do and what not to do and how to pet them. By the end of the episode the problem cat had gone through a surprising transformation, and obviously realized the children were no longer going to hurt her.

Writers who do research on psychopaths will often include an episode in which their antagonist does something to hurt an animal, although it is not recommended that you go into any great detail. Readers find it easier to read about people being tortured than animals. Perhaps our empathy for animals comes from their innocence–and the same goes for children. No animal–or child–is born with a cruel and nasty temperament. If they become aggressive, it usually has something to do with the treatment they get from the humans around them.

If ever I visit a home in which children don’t seem to understand and have never been taught how to treat animals, I am quick to take them aside and explain to them that animals have feelings too. I hope you guys reading this will do the same.

(I am an incurable animals lover, and always try to include them in my stories. In the Redneck P.I. Series, Twila’s rescue dog, Scratch rides on the back of her Harley with her in a special metal basket fabricated by Twila’s Pops. In Aquarius Addiction, Arlette Xylander’s crazy black cat, Marbles seems to know what’s going on when the Voodoo queen performs a ceremony to find out what secrets the old mansion holds in its walls.)

The Importance of the First Line

Good writers understand the importance of the first line in their novels. Readers these days don’t have a lot of time, and they don’t spend more than a few minutes evaluating  a book. If the first line is boring, they may not continue reading.

I’m currently participating in an assignment to send two alternative first lines to James Patterson. He will choose the most popular — the ones that get the most shares and re-tweets.

Here are mine, from my upcoming novel Virgo’s Vice, which is the third in my Zodiac Series:

1.) I bend down to stroke Allan Dockery’s dog, wondering if I actually hit the ground too hard and died, and none of this is really happening. ‪#‎JamesPattersonCritique‬
2.) I’m shaking so bad I can hardly breathe and I think I’m gonna throw up. I glance back at the others, not really expecting any help from them—they have to all be nuts. #JamesPattersonCritique

Anyone who cares to share this post will be my BFF for ever! I don’t have an Instagram account, so if you do, and you feel like sharing, please go ahead. Thanks very much.

More About What I learned from James Patterson

I’m thrilled to have just finished writing the first complete draft of my debut psychological thriller, and novella, “Sheer Panic.” Although I had already started writing this story with no outline, and not knowing how it would progress, I decided to stop and get the outline down.

Here’s the start of it.

1. Tori avoids Roderick, ‘the Freak’ as she enters the cafeteria at college. He has been harassing her for a while and she is afraid to report him, in case he retaliates. (Here’s where I know I should make a new chapter — each chapter should be one scene.) Later, Dorky Dorian tries to flirt with her when she is putting her stuff into her locker. Her friend Janet tells her she’s weird because she has opted not to go to Panama City Beach at Spring Break. Instead, she has agreed to babysit her niece so her sister can go. She never discusses the real reason she is afraid to go with her friends.

2. One afternoon when Tori is taking her neighbor’s dog, Panda, for a walk in the park, Dorky Dorian tries to force himself on her and the dog attacks him. Panda’s owner, Mrs. Stanley tells Tori she should get a dog of her own for protection. Tori reflects on her love life. She knows it’s a total disaster, and if she had a steady boyfriend the weird men would leave her alone.

3. Tori is friended on Facebook by Lance, the boy she chased at high school to no avail. Although it seems a little odd that he has suddenly had a change of heart, and decided to pursue a relationship with her, she is still totally smitten with him, and she goes along with it. She hopes it will turn into something serious, and take her mind off the stolen kiss with her sister’s boyfriend, Dan that has been plaguing her. (This scene needs something to make it more exciting.)

4. Tori takes her niece, Shari horse riding and sexy Joaquim …. etc.

Once I had completed the outline, it was easy to write the story, although it’s still in the first draft rough format. I found that I deviated a little from the outline when I came up with a better idea, and as I went along, I changed the outline at times. I love the finished draft.

Here are some other things James talked about in his videos:

  • First lines — We all know it is essential to capture your audience right away, yet so many writers start with something mundane and boring. Mine is:                                                          “I just don’t get why your love life is such a total mess,” Janet said.  “It’s just not right. It’s not that hard. You must be the only nineteen-year-old in the whole school who isn’t getting laid.”
  • Be yourself. Imagine you’re sitting across the table from your best friend telling them the story of a movie you watched. If you wouldn’t use pompous and puffed up language and fancy words when speaking to them, you shouldn’t be using them in your writing.
  • Try writing a couple of different endings. Make them as outrageous as you can. I did this and absolutely loved the new one I came up with. It was far more exciting than the original ending.
  • Try writing the same piece in the POV of more than one character. You could fall in love with a version you never thought about before.
  • Don’t be afraid to break the rules. Whatever works for you is okay. We’re all different, and so are our readers.
  • Do your research. Don’t just wing it. You must know what you are writing about to build credibility.
  • Don’t be afraid to rewrite if it doesn’t feel right to you.

More in my next post.

What is Your Myers Briggs personality Type?

According to the paper written by psychologist Carl Jung, and the conclusions drawn by Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers, there are sixteen basic categories into which humans can be typecast.

Known as the Jungian Type Scale or Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, the theory is that every individual has a primary mode of operation within just four categories:


our flow of energy
how we take in information
how we prefer to make decisions
the basic day-to-day lifestyle that we prefer

The scale uses four basic personality dichotomies:

  • Introversion (I) vs. Extroversion (E)
  • Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)
  • Feeling (F) vs. Thinking (T)
  • Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

  • We “prefer” to be either:

    Extraverted or Introverted:
    Extraverts are action oriented, while introverts are thought oriented.
    Extraverts seek breadth of knowledge and influence, while introverts seek depth of knowledge and influence.
    Extraverts often prefer more frequent interaction, while introverts prefer more substantial interaction.
    Extraverts recharge and get their energy from spending time with people, while introverts recharge and get their energy from spending time alone.

    Sensing or iNtuitive: (nonrational feelings)
    sensation—perception by means of the sense organs;
    intuition—perceiving in unconscious way or perception of unconscious contents.

    Thinking or Feeling: 
    thinking—the function of intellectual cognition; the forming of logical conclusions;
    feeling—function of subjective estimation

    Judging or Perceiving
    judgingstructured and organized decision-making
    perceivingkeeping the options open and putting off decisions

    The sixteen basic categories are as follows:
    Extraverted Sensing (ESFP, ESTP)
    Introverted Sensing (ISTJ, ISFJ)
    Extraverted Intuition (ENFP, ENTP)
    Introverted Intuition (INFJ, INTJ)
    Extraverted Thinking (ESTJ, ENTJ)
    Introverted Thinking (ISTP, INTP)
    Extraverted Feeling (ESFJ, ENFJ)
    Introverted Feeling (INFP, ISFP)

    The tests available on the Internet are quite diverse, but fun to take.


    You might want to try a couple of them to get an idea of how you are perceived by others.

    If you’re a writer, you can take the test as your character, and thereby get a good indication of how that character might develop. A lot of writers use this method of character development, to make their characters as human as possible.

    Try itit’s fun and a great tool. Here are some sites where you can take the tests for free. The first one is good for writers because it has a long form test and a short form if you want to take the test to determine someone else’s personality type. 



    Every Writer Needs a Good Editor

    “Trish is the corner man every author should have in the publishing ring.” I was thrilled to get this wonderful review from Canadian Kevin Zdrill after I helped him with his newest novel Crazy Mixed-up World. (Click here to buy it on Amazon.com.)

    “I found Trish by chance while searching the web for an individual who could provide my fiction novel a critical and polished editorial assessment. My chance discovery with Trish was an author’s dream. Trish is a caring, passionate individual with profound editorial skills, a tremendous depth of knowledge in the publishing industry and possesses an amazing warmth to go the extra mile teaching and assisting me with my book to bring it up to industry standards. Having Trish involved with my book validated it had reached its potential as a creditable novel.
    A tremendous distinction that separates Trish from so many other editors is that she is a highly accomplished author. Her insight into the industry is timely and relevant.
    Any author who has the ambition to elevate the polish of their novel will achieve this goal under the guidance of Trish and her services. My experience with Trish exceeds any university course on writing, marketing and publishing. Trish is a one room classroom that will teach an author on all the aspects required to help in the success of a challenging publishing world. Like any champion boxer, Trish is the corner man every author should have in the publishing ring.”

    🙂

    Great Pictures for Writers

    Don’t you just love the pictures on Facebook?  I don’t know where people find them but I’ve been sharing them like crazy with other writers recently, and I thought why not share them on my blog?

    This is the first one I really like. It hints at the power we hold in our hands–or should I say in our heads?


    I liked this one so much I made it the header on my Twitter page. @trishajauthor 

    This is particularly true when writing romance. You’re far less likely to meet anyone in a salad bar. We all know alcohol does tend to make people bolder than normal. It also makes them do crazy things. And who wants to read about normal stuff?

    Most writers I know are avid readers and I’m no exception.
    Isn’t this one SO apt? Once you’re a writer, everything takes on a totally new meaning and you see things in a different light.

    And this call to action is great. Life is such a blessing.  There are only three kinds of people in this world–those who make things happen, those who wait for things to happen, or those who wonder what happened.
    Which one will you be?


    Are You Using Pinterest?

    Pinterest use is growing exponentially, which makes sense because humans are predominantly visual creatures. We use our sense of vision much more than any other of the five (or six) senses. I’ve done quite a lot of searching on Pinterest, and I found not many authors are taking advantage of the exposure it offers. That’s good for me, because I have created several boards showcasing books, including mine, naturally.

    I think a lot of people are scared to use Pinterest because it works a little differently and it takes time to learn how to create boards and pins.  Basically, it’s like hanging a cork board on your office wall, and pinning photographs or articles of interest from glossy magazines onto it. Others can repin your pins (select something you have pinned on your board, copy it, and place the copy on their board.) You couldn’t ask for an easier way to advertise. Also, because it is digital, you can add videos.

    I’m still learning, but I love what I’ve found out so far. Here’s a screenshot of my profile, showing some of my boards. 

    I will be happy to pin anyone’s books onto my boards or help them create their own. 

    The titles of mine:

    Sizzling Romantic Suspense
    Really Funny Romantic Comedy
    Awesome Books Set in Africa
    Books Worth Buying

    I also have a board showcasing each of my own novels, plus a couple of other interesting topics. 

    Now I’m starting a board to highlight and link back to my blog postings.

    To follow me or access my boards, click on the Pinterest icon at the top right hand side of this blog.

    I’d love to include everyone’s books on my boards, so please comment with your Pinterest link or contact info.

    More info on how to use Pinterest:

    http://www.theyummylife.com/Pinterest_tips

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtmmGA0M_yk