An Introduction...

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#1
So I've decided to throw myself into the lion-pit. Those few who have read my work, typically do not offer any feedback that will help me to improve, so hopefully, your remarks will help me advance my skills. What follows is the introduction to a novel I have been working on. Intended to be somewhat vague to not reveal the surprises in the story, it nevertheless hints at what is to come.

Please speak freely. I'm hear heer here to learn. Thanks for your consideration!

______________________________________________

Introduction:
What would it take for you to willingly give up your civil rights, your freedom, or those rights God given, self-evident, unalienable, that shall not be infringed upon?

Would it be the threat of loss of life? What about agonizing torture or any other long-suffering cruelty that someone could inflict upon you? Naturally, those rights could be taken away by an irresistible force, yet what fate would inspire you to surrender them anxiously and when all said and done, be grateful that you had?

Half a world away, over forty-years ago, a man peered into an electrified cage at two females who had suffered terribly and long. To terrorize them before he began his cruelties again, in a calm monotone voice he told them a sadistic truth.

"You would be amazed at how malleable the mind becomes when a person is deprived of food, water and comfort. The terror and suffering however, I inflict for pleasure."

A horrific prospect to be sure, though it does beg the question of how quickly would we relent when faced with the prospect of going hungry while suffering an unquenchable thirst. For some it might mean a day, others a week, a few perhaps a month. However, what if your expectation was forever?

In a mere two years, the world had been brought to the brink of ruin. Industries that had been restrained to protect from that for a half-century, overnight found the established controls abolished. Like some great marauding beast free of its chains, the corporations supported by the politicians, whom they supported in kind, ran rampant over the face of the earth.

And so, whether it was environmental cause and effect, Nature as a sentient being or perhaps God himself, they relented declaring, "so be it."

Simply to survive, the people gathered only to discover those who had caused the loss of their world, the wealthy and politically powerful, were their only option to survive. Adroit at seizing opportunities for exploitation, the corrupt 0.1-percent had finally won, vanquishing the flawed concepts of liberty and democratic equality. Patronizingly, the plutocracy vaingloriously smiled upon the starving masses stating simply, "we will save you."

Granted, at first it was difficult until systems could be put into place. Once they had been, the imperious sustenance filled hands of the new colossus extended toward the huddled masses; then paused waiting until they heard it.

"Please! Thank you."

That was nine years ago, now being 2029. With ninety-four percent of the population’s focus upon simply surviving another day, none remembered they had once lived another way.

One however did.

________________________________

Thanks for any feedback!

K2
 

The Judge

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#2
To be honest, if I picked up a book with this as prologue-of-sorts, I'd put it right back down again. I'm never keen on being addressed directly by a writer, even less keen on having rhetorical questions thrown at me, and very definitely hating-every-second on reading some kind of political tract as a intro to a novel. I'm happy to be educated when I'm reading, and I'm happy to be made to think, but if I'm reading a novel, first and foremost I want to be entertained, not lectured.

Bluntly, as far as I'm concerned, the only points of interest here lie in the final two paragraphs. But they don't work as an introduction in any way, though I think they could work as part of the blurb on the back of the book.

Why do you want this introduction? Are you not confident of being able to show your invented world and its backstory without giving this potted history? Any prologue or introduction should act to serve as an appetiser for the reader, inducing her to read further, so is this your intention? If so, as you'll have gathered, I don't think this does anything of the kind; quite the reverse in fact. If you're just wanting to parade your politics, well, there are better places for that.

My advice, for what it's worth, is to remove this from the novel and just start the book with the actual story, bringing in this history as you go. If you want to keep it, this intro could sit on your website, where those interested in your book can find out more about it and you.

Sorry I can't be more enthusiastic.
 

Brian G Turner

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#3
It's a common beginner mistake to try and preface with an explanation of your world.

Point 1: it's the job of the story to describe your work,
Point 2: a reader should be filled with questions which are only slowly answered, but with enough intrigue provided to keep the reader engaged until those questions are answered.

If you want to tell us a story, don't write an introduction - just start with the story: a character doing something, raising questions in the mind of the reader as to what is going to happen next.

Don't start a story like an essay, unless you are writing an essay. :)

As ever, I strongly recommend reading Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer - which comprehensively covers the technical guidelines for making a story stronger; also Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, which focuses on emotional character arcs for stronger character development.
 

Onyx

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#4
There is a "pretension" to the narration that falls short of the kind of Victorian flourish and style that could make it work. Lacking the full might of that sort of voice, it just sounds pretentious without the sort of balancing ironic affectation that something like Diamond Age uses in a similar voice. Any specifics I would have for you about sentence structure or word choice really just comes back to this odd voice you've chosen.

Also, it is confusing that you refer to 3 different times - 2029, something 2 years before something else and something in 1989 that happened to two women. I'm sure it all makes sense later, but the jumping around is discordant to what is supposed to sound like a storyteller issuing a preamble.

Why does only one man out of billions recall life 11 years earlier?
 
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#5
Thanks everyone for your responses. Let me mull that over a bit, chew on it some and see what I can spit out. I sincerely thank each of you for taking the time to respond and welcome any others who care to add their impressions.

As said, let me look over each response carefully again, and then weigh each point against what I've presented.

K2
 
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#6
So right off, let me once again thank you fellas for taking the time to read what I posted, and more so applying what you know to help me in the work I present. Your insights are all noted, and since you took the time to respond so thoroughly, please let me respond to pertinent points to insure I did not misunderstand any of it.

Let me also note, this story and the resulting introduction has already taken a significant turn in focus, though the story remains the same (barring minor name changes and noted goals). Initially, it was written to make the formation of the 'street-judge' system in the 2000AD series plausible, this tale taking place just beforehand.

The existing story is weak, the vast leaps and subsequent collapse of the U.S. judicial system as presented simply was absurd (though granted, suited the genre), and the miraculous personal growth of the founding character was exactly that. So this story set out to make it, and a host of other results 'possible,' which took a lot.

That said, the focus of the story has now changed. The environment has still collapsed, the government in having to make dire decisions has become oppressive beyond imagination, etc., yet now it will be approached from a second revolution standpoint in the midst of this new crushing existence.

@The Judge ;
Your first paragraph, in fact your first sentence is a powerful one. Clearly if it inspires you to stop reading before you even get to the story then that's a serious problem. Your personal dislikes (being addressed directly, being posed rhetorical questions and feeling as though being force educated/lectured) though your own, says to me given the odds that it might be the same reaction of many.

Of greatest importance is the fact that it puts you off from reading further, and that clearly was not my intention. All of that noted and will be remembered.

The two paragraphs aside (in that if I retain them I'll utilize them elsewhere in necessary 'info-dump' chapters), the reason I had an introduction at all was primarily to introduce the loss of human-rights (ultimately the Charters of Freedom) as something to be remembered from the get-go. Though it revolves around that aspect, it's not something that is directly addressed in any consequential manner. The nation is already so well past that they're the least of the populations problems.

As far as 'parading politics,' well, that to some degree is the focus of the story (though more true the response of the citizens to a crushingly oppressive and abusive government). Although it has nothing to do with taking a side (left/right, Dem/Rep), it does directly deal with the attempted overthrowing of the government as it exists in the story (though that's a number of novels off).

So I'm not sure politics is something that can be avoided... However;

I do hope I understand your point. The point of an introduction if there is one at all, to get the reader to want to read the story, not tell him what it is about to such a degree that they can stop there and figure it out (sans the details).

To that end removing it, or at the very least, significantly rewriting it is a point I will make use of.

@Brian G Turner ;
Points No.1 & 2 along with the punch-line of 'just telling a story' are strongly noted without debate. As to the essay part, thanks! I've never written one so now I feel somewhat accomplished :LOL:.

In any case, your point applies further than you might have intended.

Where that point will applies further, is regarding the 'five of forty' chapters which I suppose you would refer to as 'info-dumps.' Unfortunately, I need to cram a LOT of background info in for the whole thing to make any sense. Those I tried to tell as sub-stories in the story, and placed them as 'pauses' between major scenes as a breather, yet I do have concern that they'll slow the whole thing down.

Unfortunately, for the story to make sense they need to be there. They contain: The new system of citizen separation, classifying and relocation (imperative), a brief of what started the entire collapse (the Mad Clown), the actual environmental collapse 9-years prior and a brief timeline of events (important), an intentionally ridiculous chapter discussing mapping (as a laugh at the kakistocracy), and finally a chapter outlining the psychological manipulation of the masses and the new plutocracy.

They're not something that I can interject directly into the story to discuss (in that they describe how the nation/world is and why on the grand scale, and would truly sideline the story)... However they are imperative. That said, I need to take a hard look at them regarding your points (the appendices separate, though not the place for that info. Further, it is suggested that the reader skips them until the end if they wish to only have the knowledge of the characters).

As to your suggested reading, I've already looked them up due to your suggestion, and will look into procuring them forthwith.

@Onyx ;

I'm at a bit of a loss in understanding what you mean by a "Victorian Flourish." I get the pretentious part ;), though that and your reference to an 'odd voice' (which I assume means the way I tell it), I don't understand. Would you possibly elaborate please?

As to the dates, I get exactly what you're saying. Not only in the re-reading do I see where it would be confusing, you also point out a flat-out error! That forty-plus years refers to my life experience (now 2018) having forgotten that I'm speaking about 2029 :confused:. In any case, considering the above suggestions it will be out (of any introduction, if one even remains). Further, it is mentioned once again in the chapter "The Policy of Erasure," which speaks to your last point.

Without giving too much away, tPoE is one of those info-dump chapters I mention above. The punch-line basically being; the new government has determined that due to what they must do, and choose to do, they need to make life so difficult that the vast majority of citizens do not dwell on the past, consider their situation of the moment, or plan for the future.

So, through years of psychological manipulation, making it difficult to even survive from moment to moment, and chemical and physical diversions, they have worked to get those citizens to forget their past. More so, get them to devote their every moment of being into simply surviving. In the process trying to whittle them down to focusing upon basic things (food, water, avoiding violence, where to sleep, and how to escape it all (ex. drugs)).

In a sense, stripping them of their humanity as we now know it, and thoughts of better times. The goal being, how it is now-- is how it always was-- and how it will always be. IOW, accepting their lot as it is as normal.

_________________________________________________

All of that said (are any of you still reading? :whistle:) I am a little hurt ;) in that it is about as eloquent, high-tone and fine-talkin' as this ol' cowpoke can probably get!

Many folks who have read my work in the past, have mentioned that they found me to be "more of a story-teller than an author." Whether that was meant as a compliment or a jab I'll have to recheck, yet nevertheless, I had tried in this story via the introduction, info-chapters and appendices to present something more than simply spinning some yarn around a campfire.

I do get your points however regarding what I'm saying and when. Perhaps part of it is, I need to tell it in a way that comes natural to me so I don't come off as Jethro Bodine making plans to become a double-naught spy or a Hollywood pre-ducer.

Thanks so much again for your generous and blunt feedback! If I missed any points of note, or if you'd care to further elaborate, I welcome the help.

Thanks again!

K2
 
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Onyx

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#7
A horrific prospect to be sure, though it does beg the question of how quickly would we relent when faced with the prospect of going hungry while suffering an unquenchable thirst. For some it might mean a day, others a week, a few perhaps a month. However, what if your expectation was forever?
This is what I called pretentious, because it isn't really any more 'eloquent' than the way you would normally speak, but it is constructed like an idea you have some Vincent Price monologue. And it really doesn't make a lot of sense following the quotation - it is as if style was more important than a complete idea.

No style, just the way you'd tell a story:
Horrific, I know, but everyone relents to hunger and thirst eventually. Most in a day, a few might last a week - or a whole month for the strongest willed. But why hold out if at all if the hunger will never end?
Over the top, redic 19th century nerd out:
An horrific prospect, for certain, though the question posed: Relent now in the face ravaging hunger, or implacable thirst? Or, gathering all one's fortitude, resist! Resist for a day, as your best fellows might; resist as a hero, marshalling a week's fortitude against the onslaught of need; or asail that craven want as a true champion, holding at bay life needs for a fortnight twice? And then what would the coin of such a month buy the brave in the daming face of an eternity of want?
So you can go full blown old school, or you can write like normal, but anything too in between comes out corny, like you're trying too hard with your word of the day calendar in reach. And I was being over the top with the second example, because I'm writing off the top of my head at 2am and trying to make my point obvious: You have a style problem, because your narrator sounds neither like a genuine product of his time nor a figure of god-like nobility.


But I mostly agree with Judge, I just am assuming you slide into this style throughout the story and need to think about why your narrator sounds so peculiar.
 

Joshua Jones

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#8
One thing you could consider, assuming the entire world is not this sort of oppressive system, is have someone from outside of the "system" visit and serve as a reader proxy. It is done quite often, but this is due to its effectiveness in progressing the story while giving the needed information.

One way you could do this is to have someone come from outside, be astonished at the oppression, stir up a handful of people, all of whom wind up visited by the secret police and taken for interrogation and reeducation. You could have some of the backstory given as the interrogator is "reasoning" with the protagonist. Something to the effect of (and please note, this is off the cuff, first draft, and a voice I am inventing for a character on the spot, so it will likely be far from perfect)

"Look, Dylan," Inspector Javert said with a sigh, "when the whole d*** world collaped, we had a choice. We could either starve, or give up our liberties. We made the right choice; really, we made the only choice. And, for those who embrace this, there are ways to make life more comfortable. More enjoyable."
Dylan recoiled as the inspector suddenly spun, truncheon extended. "Then people like you come along. Stirring up the rabble. Talking of lost freedoms and fallen civilization. Stinks of revolution, if you ask me."
Dylan didn't hear much of what was said next; his ears rang from the impacts of the truncheon against his skull.

Again, I know it is far from perfect, but something like that could show the dystopian world, rather than just tell about it. And, assuming one of the antagonists is a police inspector, it introduces the antagonist and sets the stakes for the interactions with him/her. The protagonist could never be seen again, or could be lobotomized into a factory working slave, or could become an antagonist if you really wanted.

So, if you like that idea, feel free to run with it. If not, I would encourage you to find another way that would include characters and story to introduce these elements in universe, rather than as info dump chapters. It will take some work and finagling, but I think you can make it work.
 

Toby Frost

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#9
I agree with a lot of what's been said before, I'm afraid. The posing of questions directly to the reader could work in a very arch way in a comedy, but here it reminds me of those little intros Rod Serling used to do on The Twilight Zone, and which (although stylish at the time) seem unnecessary now. A good book should raise the questions you want to ask without having to ask them directly.

I don't want to second-guess what you're doing, but it does read as if you're trying to sound like a "serious writer" here. I really wouldn't worry about that. I'd just tell the story in your own voice, without any effort to sound grand. A lot of books get real power from being told in comparatively simple terms.

The same goes for stories where there has been some large-scale disaster: narrowing it down to a few normal people trying to survive instead of talking about the whole country is very effective (see The Plot Against America or When The Wind Blows). To quote what you said earlier, this might well work better as a yarn told around a campfire.
 

The Judge

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#10
the reason I had an introduction at all was primarily to introduce the loss of human-rights (ultimately the Charters of Freedom) as something to be remembered from the get-go.
I can't help thinking that if there's been a major loss in human rights, it will be self-evident in the story itself. If the story doesn't show it, then to be frank you've got bigger problems than just this introduction.
Though it revolves around that aspect, it's not something that is directly addressed in any consequential manner. The nation is already so well past that they're the least of the populations problems.
Granted if every day I'm struggling to find food to eat, I'm not going to worry about CCTV everywhere, but in passing you can still mention the drones/cameras to show their ubiquity, or the heavily-armed cops beating someone up, or whatever else is the obvious visible sign of the oppression. Plus, though I'm not concerned about surveillance, I'm still going to be worried about death squads randomly picking people off the street. You don't need a big "THIS IS AN OPPRESSIVE STATE" statement anywhere, you just show the appurtenances of that oppression and allow readers to draw their own conclusions.

So I'm not sure politics is something that can be avoided...
Not within the story, no. And you don't need to avoid it. What you must avoid is lecturing, whether by you as author or through monologues or "As you know, Jim,"s by your characters. Basically, avoid writing the story as a polemic. Write the story as a story. I've bolded that because I really can't emphasise it enough. If you're lauded as a storyteller, use your skills as a storyteller and forget about the intricacies of all this world-building, no matter how much it has engrossed you.

I do hope I understand your point. The point of an introduction if there is one at all, to get the reader to want to read the story, not tell him what it is about to such a degree that they can stop there and figure it out (sans the details).
Yes, but the intro is no different from everything else in the novel in that respect. The whole point of each chapter, each scene, each paragraph, even every sentence, is to make the reader want to read on to the next one. When we forget that, we're liable to lose our readers. But in addition, the prologue has to work twice as hard, since it's not the start of the story, and it's effectively saying "Hey, sorry about this, but this bit isn't the story, but I really think you need to know it to understand what follows." The trouble is, usually readers don't need to know it. So, to my mind, if you want a prologue, it has to be special in both writing and content and provide a pay-off of its own.

Where that point will applies further, is regarding the 'five of forty' chapters which I suppose you would refer to as 'info-dumps.' Unfortunately, I need to cram a LOT of background info in for the whole thing to make any sense.
My heart sank when I read this. To repeat myself, what we as writers think the reader needs to know is usually far less than the reader actually does need. My go-to example is the internal combustion engine. I don't need to know how it works to know how to drive a car, and I don't need to explain how to drive a car when I write that someone drives to the seaside. I have a better grasp of history than a lot of people, but I still couldn't give you a chapter on the Corn Laws or the Peterloo Massacre or the founding of the NHS or the Suffragette movement, and arguably they all have some bearing on my life today, nor do I need to explain them to show life today. And that is the thing you might have overlooked -- you should be showing life for your characters, not explaining things for or to them. (Though as Joshua says, the use of a newcomer/alien/trainee is a time-honoured way of getting across differences which can highlight points you want emphasised.)

Unfortunately, for the story to make sense they need to be there. They contain: The new system of citizen separation, classifying and relocation (imperative), a brief of what started the entire collapse (the Mad Clown), the actual environmental collapse 9-years prior and a brief timeline of events (important), an intentionally ridiculous chapter discussing mapping (as a laugh at the kakistocracy), and finally a chapter outlining the psychological manipulation of the masses and the new plutocracy.
Obviously I've not read your novel, but I would be astounded if I needed all of this in such detail to understand the story. I might need it to understand the world and its history, but that's a different matter. Frankly, I'm pretty sure this -- with perhaps the exception of the time line if it's short which could possibly go as a frontispiece -- is better off elsewhere.

In an original note I made above about introductions, I wiffled on about going to see Romeo and Juliet, when it occurred to me there is, of course, a prologue: "Two households, both alike in dignity/In fair Verona where we lay our scene..." so my comment got deleted. However, while we are told "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny" nowhere in the play do we have a long in-depth disquisition on how and why the Montagues and Capulets fell out in the first place. We don't need it. We know they are enemies, and that's enough for the story.

Further, it is suggested that the reader skips them until the end if they wish to only have the knowledge of the characters).
This, to me, is the most telling sentence in the whole thread, and it suggests to me you've misunderstood what you're doing here. You're not writing a history tome, or a political tract, or a revolutionary manifesto; you're writing a novel, and a novel is its characters. It's possible to write a best-selling story where the characters are mere ciphers, eg if the plot is a cracking one and it's fast-paced or otherwise attention-grabbing (ie Dan Brown's many opuses) or there is something else to wow readers such as a lot of on-the-page sex (the Shades of Grey things). For the rest of us, without characters there is nothing, and they should be our first and last concern. It's Romeo and Juliet who are the story, and what happens to them is the play, not the past arguments and civil strife between their families. For you to write, as a kind of afterthought, that readers only interested in the characters should leave out the info-dump chapters suggests you've failed to grasp this.

EDIT: on reading through this after posting, it occurs to me I've mis-read your comment re "knowledge of the characters" in that you don't mean "about the characters" but rather you're talking of readers only having the knowledge of the world that the characters themselves have. That being the case, and with many apologies, the opening and closing comments of that last para are misplaced. But my advice still stands. Why should we need more info of the world than your POV characters have to understand their story? If we do need it, why not give us the POV of someone who does know it?


So, deep breath, but my advice is you have a long hard look at what you've written in these info-dumping chapters, and then dump them. Concentrate on the characters and the storyline, and just dribble in what's really needed as it's needed. If there's something you do consider vital, then condense it as much as possible, and see if you can find a way to show it as smoothly and elegantly as possible. The world-building, the history lessons, the alphabet, all go into your website.

In any event, whatever you do, good luck with it.
 
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Joshua Jones

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#11
Wow, my suggestion cited by @The Judge. I must be moving up in the writing world...

I agree entirely with her post. The only thing I would add is, if you do use a reader proxy character for the prolouge, get some mileage from it beyond backstory. You don't want to introduce a character, have him beaten silly, then have all parties disappear into oblivion. If you do the prolouge well, you will build a strong emotional connection to the characters, and that will remain if they resurface. It isn't hard to imagine many different ways this can be used to influence the reader.
 
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#12
@Onyx ; I see what you're trying to say. That might be a bit of a battle all in itself. For reasons I'll not go into, that half overly-formalized and half casual mish-mash of phrasing (as you may have noticed in my responses) is how my mind works when I'm writing. Speaking for me is a whole different thing. When I write for a character however, that's when it reads more natural.

Thanks for clarifying!

@Joshua Jones , thanks for chiming in;

I understand what you're suggesting, though that inside information track is already covered in the story via the protagonist. The initial intent of my introduction above was to first off, pose to the reader the question of "what would it take for you to be grateful to surrender your civil rights." Secondly, to pass along the idea that 'hunger and thirst would be enough.' Lastly to state 'that is what has transpired along with the rise of an oppressive government to date in the story.'

So I am seeing where it (the introduction) is simply giving away what the story itself is about to tell. As to the 'info-dump chapters,' I'll respond to that in a moment in that others since your post have mentioned the same thing.

Thanks again for helping out!

@Toby Frost ;

Thank you as well for pitching in! Great comment about Rod Serling. Though that thought never entered my mind, in retrospect re-reading my intro and pitching it in his manner it does sound the same doesn't it :lol: As to 'trying to sound serious,' except in the introduction I'd say 'no,' although to set the scene I'm faced with a bit of a problem.

As to the rest of your reply, bear with me a moment please.

@The Judge ; All of your follow up responses are noted, and I will be coming back to all of the responses in this thread often as I perform my edits and so on.

As to the aspect of info-dump chapters you all have concerns about;

Whoa Nellie...

Though it is my fault for mentioning anything other than the introduction, I think we're getting a little beyond the scope of it regarding my story. PLEASE do not misunderstand, all of that additional discussion is valuable to me. However, to discuss it logically requires some information that you all have not been privy to as of yet.

At this point, let me say that long before this critique thread was started, there have already been a number of changes to the initial story (of which the above introduction applies).
1. A stand-alone novel (2029) is expanding to two additional sequels (2030 & 2031), then expanding out even more (2032, 2033, etc.). All of which I have already mapped out in my noggin.
2. The core point or goal of the story, has changed from; 'the justification of street-judges' to now revolution. That teetering revolution is made to happen due to the protagonist in 2029 & 2028, yet will not exist beyond ;)
3. A prequel novella (2028) to this novel is already being generated, before I go back and make final edits to the 2029 novel.
4. Etc..

With that said, going from a 'stand-alone' or singular novel, to a number of novels/novellas (and ultimately novelettes), most notably a prequel novella, is going to grant me a lot of flexibility and room to spread some of this 'info-dumping' around.

The same goes for stories where there has been some large-scale disaster: narrowing it down to a few normal people trying to survive instead of talking about the whole country is very effective (see The Plot Against America or When The Wind Blows). To quote what you said earlier, this might well work better as a yarn told around a campfire.
Though I get your point in that regard, unfortunately I don't feel that's going to work as easily here. Please keep in mind I'm trying to present a nation that has become very small and brutal in a short amount of time. More than that, one that seems more like a prison (but worse) than a nation.

So what say instead I offer up a blow by blow quick synopsis of the situation... not the novel's story directly.

2017-2019: the Mad Clown (yeah, there is no way I could have dreamed a bigger nut up ;)), basically dismantles the government, the nation, alienates all other nations, unintentionally initiates accelerated climate change, ecological collapse, etc..
2019: Ecologically the world is falling apart, however challenged by the people, the Clown trying to initiate a war realizing he cannot (no one else as mad as he), instead pops off 4-high alt. air bursts and one impact. The U.S. utility infrastructure collapses, and it nudges the environment just that much more wherein it collapses.
2020: After this and that, the Clown issues an edict; make it to the Bos-Wash megaregion or we can't help you. The U.S., Caribbean, Canadian and a few others converge on the BWM, shifting the pop. from 55-million to 417-million.
2020: The Clown's last act is the institution of the "Agricultural System" and to hand off the government to the wealthy and corporations, then he grabs Liberty one more time, and heads off to the better climate in N. Russia ;)
Late 2020: Our protagonist arrives in the U.S. finding herself now trapped with the citizens.
2022: As the protagonist puts it at one point to the deuteragonist; "I’m tired, and I don’t have the energy to waste my time on a kid with his fingers in his ears, so here it is. There are no animals left, there are no birds, fish, bugs or even plants. Hell, by the second year (2022) we had eaten all of the rats and cockroaches."
2020-2029: The Agricultural System has divided up the city and population thusly:
CASE-Population Total: Population 417,000,000. CASE-Area: 22,304sq.km..
Homestead Regions: Pop. 834,000 - 3,792sq.km. - 220p/sq.km. density.
Productive Fields/Rings: Pop. 24,186,000 - 4,684sq.km. - 5,143p/sq.km. density.
Fertile Fields/Rings: Pop. 129,270,000 - 8,699sq.km. - 14,860p/sq.km. density.
Pastoral Fields/Rings: Pop. 262,710,000 - 5,130sq.km. - 51,211-200,000p/sq.km. density.

All zones are divided by massive walls (to the Clown's great joy).

There is no employment due to no raw materials coming in except in the Productive zones. The masses have been dumbed down as much as possible. 99.9% of the population has little to no idea what goes on in other areas. Even the most knowledgeable we encounter, our protagonist has little historical information past 2020.

Nothing has changed within the 'Pastoral' Fields/Zones regarding housing (if it wasn't there before 2020, it isn't there now). There are no utilities except random trickles of water. Food sporadically makes it into those zones. Drugs oddly are plentiful.

Rule of law is as it always has been in the HS & Productive regions, though it's twisted. In Fertile area's it's absolute martial law. In the Pastoral areas, there is no law and order, they do have 3-types of Agricultural System employees regularly there along with support for them. Planters, Gleaners and Reapers.

Note the names of the regions...

***************

I have a massive amount of information to cover. To not provide some sub-stories about other individuals (ex.: Cletus Prusser the founder of the Agricultural System) would simply make the total story seem like an exercise in senseless savagery.

What I called 'info-dumps' are pauses to the story at key points, wherein a story about someone or something else is told. They're not simply facts, figures and timelines.

In any case... Since it is all re-evolving and that information can be spread out more (yet some of it MUST be told, otherwise nothing makes sense), the issue of those info-dumps is moot for the moment.

That said, if anyone wants to punish themselves, I would be more than happy to let you have a peek at it. Simply PM me.

I cannot express my sincere gratitude enough for all of the thoughtful effort you all have put in to responding to me, to help me. Thank you once again. Your assistance is welcome, and your opinions invaluable!

K2
 

Shorewalker

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#13
I'm going to have to agree with what has been said regarding back-story/info dumps. This is all wonderful stuff that you, the writer, has to have a firm grasp on. However, I'd suggest that the reader needs little more than vague hints and a couple of important dates/events. What the Mad Clown did and when is not really important...the consequences of his actions are.

Readers can be canny sorts and they'll pick up stuff quick enough. If you have a great MC (or MCs) with a compelling story arc, nobody will care much about the facts and figures. Indeed, those facts and figures could very well detract from your narrative and frighten away your readership.

You seem to have created a highly sophisticated history that will stand you in good stead as you write. I'd personally consider leaving much of it out of the book and instead, allow the characters to live with the consequences of events.
 

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