Impossible information

A big part of replotting Impossible Takes a Little Longer is figuring out where to share information with the readers.

There are two kinds of information I need to get out. One is the basic world-building stuff: paranormals exist, very few of them use their powers as superheroes, being superhuman is normalized, Hitler won WW II with bioweapons and genetically enhanced soldiers, etc. Then there’s the stuff that’s specific to the plot on and character arcs. KC wants to go friends-with-benefits with her friend Matt. KC’s love of Supergirl. KC almost gave herself up to the forces of Unlight as a teenager.Why KC uses her powers as a superhero. All of which has to be shared out without info-dumping, but well in advance of when it’s relevant or at least mentioned.

If, say, nobody brings up Hitler winning and then I reference it mid-book, I imagine I’ll get a very WTF reaction because that’s a big chagne in the world. Likewise there’s stuff about the nature of paranormal powers that needs to be mentioned before it becomes important.

One way to do this is with little excerpts from nonexistent books or news articles at the start of each chapter. They’re short, deliver innformation in a paragraph or two, and as they’re not part of the narrative they don’t require me to work it into conversation or KC’s first person monologues. The first chapter introduces the basic paranormal concepts; a later chapter references the Keel hypothesis about paranormals, which will become significant in the story.

A second is KC’s monologues. This is a standard method of sharing information in urban fantasy; it’s how we learn most of what we know about magic and the wizarding world in Jim Butcher’s Storm Front. So long as the information is interesting, and not too much at one time, it should go fine.

Third, of course, is dialog.

Figuring out where to place the information can be tricky. For example, at some point KC learns time-tampering plays a role in what’s happening. I want to time the revelation for maximum drama, but I also have to figure out its effect on the plot — and when it’s most plausible someone mention it. In my previous draft it came after the halfway point in the book. Now it’s much earlier. I think it has more impact as a later reveal but there’s a character who would probably mention it sooner. Can I come up with a good reason for her not to reveal it?

So along with reworking the plot, I’ll be reworking the knowledge.

#SFWApro. Cover by Curt Swan, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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