Infodumping in stories


New Member
Nov 20, 2023

So I am writing a romance science fiction novel. How much is infodumping tolerated in romance novels? I personally like learning about all the planets and all the intergalactic rules and all that. So, personally I don't mind and would like to put it in there. However, does it turn you off and distract you from the plot?
I've never read a complete romance novel, much less a romance SF, so I can't much help you as to what romance-readers want (though for myself, in whatever I'm reading, I prefer information to be dripped into the narrative bit by bit, not just dumped on the page).

However, what I can do is move this over to Writing Discussion where others might be able to offer more help.
The problem with this kind of question is this: over the years here, there have been many of us cutting our teeth and witnessed all sorts of good and bad advice. And within that comes personal preference (and, I suspect, genre).

What is infodumping? Because if you look at it, story telling is nothing but an artful info-dump, and so what one person thinks is too much, another person won't. And then when you factor genre (I'm thinking of so-called hard SF) where if your reader doesn't know the science foundation, they're not going to be able to understand. In this respect I love info-dumps from say, Michael Crichton and Arthur C Clarke, and feel like I'm learning. Others would be fed up.

I believe, too, that as a writer, we always know if we've gone beyond our own values of something (in this case, too much infodumping) - and in those cases I listen to my naggy inner voice. But what when we don't know? I think that's something that can't come until the book's finished and you've had feedback from betas.

When you've got enough posts, you could put an excerpt on the crits board and see what people say.

Good luck!
I think you have to ask yourself if all the information in your infodump necessary for the enjoyment of your story, and if so why does it all have to be given at once?

Star Wars is to some extent romantic science fiction - certainly from the perspective of Han. And from Luke's perspective it's as much about reconciling with his family as it is about becoming a Jedi - perhaps moreso; which is in its own way a love story

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