Dont Let Your Characters Lecture Either

As discussed in chapter fourteen, it isn't a good idea to dump factual information into a story via the author-intrusion route. Sometimes writers realize this, but unfortunately decide to use their characters as mouthpieces for the desired data, making the characters lecture at one another in a totally unrealistic way.

Usually dialogue is not a good vehicle for working in research information. Characters tend to make dumb speeches for the author's convenience, rather than talking like real people do. While dialogue does convey useful information in a story-and a lot of it -dialogue's primary function is not to give the author a thinly disguised way of dumping his lecture notes. Maybe you know the kind of lecture dialogue I mean:

Charlie walked up and said, "Why, hi there, Molly McBride, who was born in Albany in 1972, of poor but hardworking parents, your father was a store clerk! How nice you look today, wearing that red blouse that goes so nicely with your shoulder-length blond hair! My goodness, as I recall, you must still be married to Brad, the world-champion tennis player, whose last tournament appearance saw him reach the semifinals at Flushing Meadow, where

This kind of nonsense is every bit as obtrusive and dumb as the direct author lecture discussed in Chapter Fourteen.

Dialogue emphatically is not made up of sequential lectures by various characters intent on telling each other what they already know. Dialogue simply cannot be used as a disguise for author lectures. You the writer must find more clever ways of working your needed information into the story.

Finally, let me make one more impertinent observation about lectures by the fiction author. A large percentage of the information you think must go into your story will find its way into the characters' lives and actions without your much worrying about it if it is truly relevant.

On the other hand, you may need to question whether some of the stuff you want in there is really needed. If the characters don't talk about it, remember it, or act upon it in the course of your plot, how can it really be so important? And if it's just your opinion about something, who cares? Certainly not your reader!

Leave the lectures for the classroom or the Moose Lodge. Write fiction!

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