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Did Too Much Research

(permanent link) added: 2009-03-20 14:16:32 sponsor: MidasMint (last reply: 2009-03-20 14:16:32)

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The over-achieving cousin of Did Not Do The Research.

A writer, as conscientious writers do, may hit the books (or the Wikipedia) to get a little grounding on the settings, backgrounds, historical figures, and props that will figure into their story, and they'll wind up with a sprawl of facts. The trope comes into play when the writer fails to sift through their research for the most interesting or relevant info - and instead, simply slops the entirety of their notes onto the page without a care for narrative flow.

The result? That Parisian chase scene you're reading suddenly screeches to a halt to admit three paragraphs of exposition on the leading lights of eighteenth century French topiary. All because the characters ran past a couple of hedge sculptures during the pursuit.

Too Much Research can sometimes be a symptom of Author Appeal, and often sees use as Padding or Filler of the most boring kind. Generally too pointless and random to count as an Author Filibuster - we're talking pedantic digressions rather than political ones.

This is mostly a literary trope, and for whatever reason it's particularly common in paperback thrillers - think James Patterson, Dan Brown, and Tom Clancy. Moby-Dick's whaling digressions are Too Much Research on a truly awesome scale. Brian K. Vaughan sometimes commits this when characters who should have no interest in a given topic will suddenly declaim irrelevant factoids pertaining to it.

  • The first book of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, Quicksilver, starts with a long discussion of politics.
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