Incluing: Apparently The Opposite of Info Dumping

Did you know what incluing is? Neither did I. In fact, the first time I saw the word, I thought it was just including but with the D cut out. Perhaps the word will make more sense as we press on with the article, but I guess we’ll see. But is it really the opposite of info dumping, and therefore the answer to all your problems? Let’s find out.

And just like that, we’re back with another worldbuilding article. Before the RoP review drops tomorrow (I sacrifice my sleep schedule on the altar of content), I thought I’d take the time to hit you guys up with another how-to article. This one’s about the relatively unknown writing technique of incluing.

Now, you’ll just have to take my word for it on this one: if you google the word “incluing”, the chances that you’ll get a definition are seriously low. I promise you that I’m not lying. This wikipedia article has a definition of incluing, so at least someone agrees with me: Literary Techniques

But anyway…incluing. What does this word mean? How does it affect my writing? What purpose does it serve, other than to give dedicated English majors a migraine? And how could something so simple be the key to relieve so much suffering and pain by way of eliminating info dumping?

So, first of all, incluing does not replace info dumping. If it did, you’d be left with a very small (aka unexplained if you wanted it to be bigger) world. Incluing is a method of worldbuilding that relies on the story’s characters gradually uncovering the world instead of putting in concentrated pockets of information that explain the relevant details. It’s the “inch-the-bandaid-off” solution of worldbuilding.

The wiki link I gave you sites Brave New World as an example of incluing, and I can agree–partially. The thing about Brave New World is that it does have portions of info dumping (especially at the beginning of the story), but it’s actually really meager and spread-out. Instead of explaining the premise of the world directly to the reader the way an epic fantasy prologue might work, the reader is simply introduced into a world and given a few relevant details by way of dialogue and happenstance.

When you think about it, though, this is far, FAR removed from the way Kelsier explains Allomancy to Vin in Mistborn. Although it is still revealed in dialogue, it is only implied that children are made rather than born. It’s a much more subtle method of worldbuilding, but works its best when there aren’t a lot of complex ideas to be communicated.

At first blush, it may seem that incluing is really the better alternative to info dumping, but it does have its obvious limits. For one, it struggles with getting complex ideas across to the reader. While an info dump is a long, interrupted line of thought, incluing comes with barely perceptible spasms. The trouble with info dumping is that if the information isn’t pertinent to things the reader doesn’t already care about, they’ll drop your book faster than a hot iron. Incluing allows you do do more than one thing at once.

So incluing is probably not your best option for a complex science fiction or fantasy world. I know we all want to avoid info dumps to build complicated worlds, but sometimes the narrative dictates that there is no other way. Info dumps are a necessary evil, but an evil nonetheless.

Incluing would probably be more suited to a post-apocalyptical world, an alternate future, or a edges-of-the-envelope CRF. In extreme cases, you could use it for something like Brave New World, but that’s really stretching it. And besides, whatever you write, I still don’t believe that you’ll be able to avoid info dumping altogether.

In finality, I would recommend a hybrid method of storytelling. This consists of using info dumping as a last resort while employing incluing as your primary weapon. Info dumping will square away the biggest, most complicated things about your world, but the rest of the time things are revealed gradually by use of incluing.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Plus, I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the Resources tab. It’s full of super helpful material and I promise it will help you out. Until then, writers!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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