An info dump is a chunk of exposition that is insufficiently integrated into the story being told. It’s also known as an “expository lump” and is a specific kind of exposition.
The info dump usually involves sharing your research notes with the reader, just to prove that you’ve done the research. While it’s sometimes necessary to give such information, make sure it sounds natural in your piece and not like a cut-and-paste from an encyclopedia.
Sometimes you do need to include the information provided in the info dump in your story. The best way to accomplish that is to incorporate it into your tale:
• Rewrite so that it’s part of the description or so it’s implied in the dialogue – This is the best way. You are now showing the information rather than telling it.
• Have the characters read or see a news report – If the information can’t be rewritten, use this ploy. Only give the information necessary to the plot, however, not the entire news article or report.
• Provide journal entries or captain’s logs – In 10 seconds, Captain Kirk gets you caught up on the plot. Usually some conflict needs to be noted or implied in the log, however, so that there’s dramatic tension.
My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.