Explication is the yucky veggies of writing. No one's favorite part.
Snappy dialogue is easy and engaging. Sexy descriptions are challenging and fun. Heart-pounding action sequences – you know, I don’t think I’ve ever written one of those -- are sure exciting to read. But necessary background info – ugh. Paving the way for story to follow.
There was a lot of that in my last chapter. I thought: ‘Unless readers know these facts, they won’t be able to follow what happens next.’ So I unloaded half a dozen pages of data.
The techniques I used are the same ones I used to use when my kids didn’t want to eat veggies or go to the dentist. Bribery: ‘When you finish your peas there’s ice cream.’ Misdirection: ‘Wheee, the stroller’s going downhill too fast to – oops, here we are at Dr Waldron’s.’ And above all: distraction. Bogie famously hoped that when he gave a speech of explication there were ‘camels fucking in the background.’ My kidlit version of that involves fallout from Adele’s wardrobe malfunction and a treachery reveal.
Will readers know it’s essentially an info dump? Maybe. Maybe they’ll enjoy it anyway.