I was reading an agent blog today and the entry was about common mistakes they see in requested pages. The post mainly focused on what is commonly called an 'information dump.' To explain, an information dump is usually found somewhere in chapter one and will be a whole load of background information about the character/s. Since I was in a bit of a hurry this morning, I only gave it a cursory read and then of course spent the rest of the day wanting to look at my own work to see if I'm guilty of this crime. I finally found five minutes to look at the opening chapter of SOAP book 1, and of course immediately found three separate places I'd 'dumped' information. After that I spent the remainder of the day thinking "is this why agents have been passing on my work?" But then I just went back and read what the agent was saying slowly and luckily I think I'm ok. I think what this agent was trying to say was that if there's just pages and pages of back information, with no present action or dialogue, then it would be a problem and an immediate 'no' from them. However, I really think some background information is obviously necessary. The trick is to weave it into the action and dialogue, instead of bashing your reader over the head with it. I think mine is ok. Probably not great, there's probably some other way I could have done it better and it's a mistake I'll be aware of avoiding in the future. No one has ever pulled me up on 'information dumping' before, so it can't be too big an issue in my work. I still believe my work is good enough to get me that currently-elusive 'yes' from an agent or publisher.
Oh, and I still haven't heard back from Avon, which I'm taking as a good sign. Hopefully it means my query actually made it to an editors desk and is being considered for a request.
Song: Pacifier by Shihad.