The chapter in question is a sequel chapter. Things have calmed down after the frenetic events the protagonist has just been put through, and now it’s time for her (and the reader) to catch their breath and be given some explanation (from the protagonist’s new partner) about what the heck just happened.
So here’s the problem. There’s going to be a fair amount of explanation at this point, and based on what my crit partners have dinged me for in the past, I know they’re going to complain that:
1). I have too much dialogue, and
2). I’m dumping too much information on them at once.
My natural inclination is to answer all the protagonist’s (and reader’s) questions as soon as possible (at least the obvious ones) because that’s how things tend to work in real life. But there are so many obvious questions I know my crit partners will complain if I answer them all.
The general rule is that you don’t hand information to the reader until they need it, but that’s not always the best strategy. If you wait until you absolutely HAVE to give the reader some information, it often turns into an infodump that kills the pacing, and the reader barely has a chance to digest this information before it becomes relevant and the action begins. I’ve gone back over some of my favorite fantasy books to see how those authors did it, and to my surprise, they rarely waited until the reader absolutely needed the information. Instead, they sprinkled it out over the course of the story, kind of like a trail of breadcrumbs to keep the reader reading along.
But back to my dilemma. How can I go about having my MC not ask all the obvious questions? How can I save some of them for later? As usual, I ran to the TV/movie theater to see how those writers do it, and the answer turns out to be quite simple. Pretend the character is an idiot (or at least is so flustered their mind isn’t working as it should). I’m serious. I can’t count the number of times I’ve railed at a TV/movie character for not asking a few direct questions that would immediately occur to anyone with an IQ over 1.
For example, if the character has just been rescued by a stranger with superhuman powers, instead of asking who the stranger is or how does he have superpowers or why he was attacked in the fist place, the character will ask something like: Are you an alien? Kind of an off-the-wall question if you ask me. A question that even once it's answered, still doesn’t tell the character or the reader much. And, even worse, when the stranger answers no, the character usually kind of stops asking questions. Arg!!!!!
But as I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, dialogue isn’t real. It’s written in a way that maximizes the entertainment value of the words. So who cares if a real person would have asked all these questions? If the author thinks it’s better to withhold the information, then they just don’t have the character ask those questions.
The trick for writers is to figure out how to do this without making the character sound like a moron or without pissing off your readers that have an IQ over 1.