I’m often conflicted about what the characters should actually say. I try to be good about balancing the characters’ personality with the exposition and to be careful about having them tell each other things they’d already know. I recently had a short discussion about “show, don’t tell,” and it occurred to me how terrible that advice is. That comes in as well.
A better way of helping a writer develop would be, “imply, don’t state, as much as possible.” You will have to make statements, and that’s okay. Going too far out of your way to avoid an info dump makes things just as awkward as info-dumping in the reader’s face.
In this case, I spent a lot of time wondering whether having JAIN simply say she’s intentionally abrasive was on the edges of that spectrum, or somewhere in the middle. For the most part, I’m comfortable that JAIN’s exposition in these pages is the most natural way to cover this, and that there will be many more times when someone simply states something about JAIN that could be carefully implied. The reasoning is simple. I can imply things about Rey and a certain level of common human experience will allow the reader to draw conclusions. Right or wrong, the reader will feel there’s an understanding. Despite Dr. Chandra’s assertion, JAIN is not human. She’s not exactly inhuman, as much as she’s meta-human. Certain things common to human experience don’t apply to her. For example, gender. JAIN isn’t an allegory for non-gender binary expression. Gender, as we think of it, is not an attribute she has. JAIN is a she in the same way as the USS Enterprise is a she, and to exactly the same extent. That her holographic and physical representations appear female is simply one way she deliberately manipulates people.
JAIN is human, in the sense that she’s not completely alien from what we are. She thinks like we do because the way she thinks is designed to mimic how we think. So Chandra isn’t exactly wrong to say she’s human. JAIN is still different, and it’s easier as a writer, to get in your face about that so that I can focus on implying, and not stating, more interesting things about her.