How Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice Avoids the Dreaded Infodump

For this post I’m going to slap my editor’s hat on, adjust it until its angle achieves jauntiness, and talk about the bane of my editorial existence! So many times I begin reading a story, full of hope for what’s to come, only to be met with a wall of bland facts, pale character introductions, narrators who want to introduce me to everyone they’ve ever met before they’ve even introduced themselves, or even…genealogies. As a writer, I completely understand this urge: you love your characters. You’ve spent time creating a world, deciding everything from the color of its sky to what your characters eat for second breakfast—naturally you want to stuff all of this knowledge into your reader’s eyeballs as quickly as possible. Unfortunately this can very easily become an infodump—per TV Tropes: “exposition that is particularly long or wordy”—and speaking as en editor, infodumps are the worst.

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