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Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Burst, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. Burst

    Burst Scribe

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    Hey guys,

    I have a problem.

    I started my draft on a novel idea that I've wanted to write for a long time and I just stopped in the middle of it and read what I had and found it incredibly boring.

    So have you ever stopped in the middle of your drafts and thought that what you had was boring? I

    Did you ditch your draft or did you continue working? Because at this point, I don't know what to do.
     
  2. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    Why do you think what you've currently written so far is boring?
     
  3. Wanara009

    Wanara009 Troubadour

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    That kind of thing happens to me all the time. My suggestion is to start working on a new version of the draft, but keep the original as a reference point.
     
  4. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    How far in are you? What makes you think it's boring?

    It's hard to tell you one way or the other without knowing specifics, but in general, sometimes you need to write it the wrong way--sometimes several times wrong--before you figure out the right way to write it.

    Are you an outliner or are you pantsing it right now?
     
  5. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Making a story interesting isn't something that just happens. To make a story interesting, you have to make good choices in your writing and have a strategy for engaging the reader. For example, I feel that the following elements tend to make stories more engaging:

    Lots of tension
    Fast pace
    Deep POV
    Showing instead of telling the majority of the time

    Regardless of what factors you use to engage the reader, you need to understand how to make your writing style engaging.

    My advice to you is to seek feedback on what you've written because my guess is that you'll have the same issue on your next story unless you first learn how to make your writing interesting.
     
  6. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    Sometimes this happens. For me, it happens when I try to write something like "a day in the life" kind of beginning. Meaning those kind of beginnings where someone wakes up and carries on his regular day until something crazy happens. Those kind of beginnings don't do anything for me as a reader (although some people like them) so they don't do anything for me as a writer either. I find introducing some kind of conflict from the get go interests me. This doesn't have to be a bunch of stuff exploding or an epic fight, just something happening that at least appears to be of significance.

    I would say resist the urge to do lots of world-building early on also. One thing that can sap a novel early on for me is if I'm spending too much time trying to situate myself rather than letting the characters do their job and situate the reader.

    Deep POV as Brian noted can also be a big motivator. If you immerse yourself in your characters, you can get on the ground level as your story goes on. Allow them to be funny, angry, confused, etc. Emotion sometimes can help spice up an otherwise boring beginning.

    I'd also suggest outlining if that's your thing. It can allow you to lay out some interesting things for your characters to do that you can look forward to. That helps propel writers through some of the drier parts of their novels.
     
  7. Helen

    Helen Sage

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    I call this drafting, which is nowhere near a decent first draft.

    Basically, you keep stripping out the boring parts and keep sharpening it up until you find your direction.

    It's normal. Keep going.

    Takes a lot of time. Outlining is much easier.
     
  8. Hagan

    Hagan Dreamer

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    Oh god yes, all the time.

    Half way through the first draft, you should have a lot of tarnish, rough edges, problem parts and yes, some boring bits. Keep writing, finish the draft, then go back and re-read. This is where the interesting work can begin. You have the beginning, middle and end, you know what you want to happen, now to add to it, spice it up and rebuild those problem parts.

    The second run through you can see where there big problems are, the plot not advancing, the characters now moving as quickly as they should to a point (mentally and physically in a world), character dialogue is stale or uninspiring and so on. This is where the real creative work can begin. By and large you can use character points and personalities to add to a story or plot, people butting heads or hiding problems from the rest of the group that is causing a larger problem (a scout who is beginning to loose his keen eyes for example, they get lost, walk into traps, have to move slower as he/she is having to take more care than normal)... or delve into the politics of a story and the characters deviating views and opinions (I find this the harder, but most rewarding element).

    Its boring now because you already know this story, what will happen and what is going to befall them next so your eyes are not as fresh as those of a test reader. But at least you KNOW that its got a problem, which is a huge credit to you there, as not everyone is willing to admit that, especially on a project they've been planning for ages.

    Keep at it Burst, finish what you've started and get to the revision stage, you'll find it'll get better with a complete story written down.
     
  9. LeoWolfish

    LeoWolfish Scribe

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    Yes definitely. The first time this happened to me I came to the same conclusion you did. The second time after altering or removing the boring points I then found that some of my characters made no sense. The third time same said characters went to the opposite extreme of making so much sense they became dull to read about.

    But then again the thing in question is my first attempt at writing a book and as with anything like this it makes for good practice until you get the balance right.
     
  10. Bruce McKnight

    Bruce McKnight Troubadour

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    Happens to me; I usually do what Helen suggested and keep stripping out the boring parts. I don't always do it right away though, I usually save it for after the first draft is complete. A lot of times, I will get further into the story and realize that I could use a previously boring scene to make something at least vaguely interesting happen and then I'm glad I have that crap chapter to polish up. It's all part of the process and you have to find what works for you.

    I once finished an incredibly boring, slow-paced, redundant 225k word story and went back and hacked it to a 105k story and then felt like it was reasonably engaging. Of course, there was still a LOT of editing and revising necessary on that 105k draft.

    Don't get discouraged, just keep writing.
     
  11. Addison

    Addison Auror

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    NEVER stop in the middle! That's like breaking your keyboard over your head. You've gotten from A to M, any edits you make there could contradict what you have planned to write. Get to the end before you start editing.

    If you honestly believe that what you've written is boring or flat then go back and, by suggestion, do the following.
    1. Go back to each chapter and find the "cross hair" moment. The momnent in the chapter that contributes to the overall story arc. There's subplots and everything but there should be one focal point for each chapter. Information is given, obstacle is faced...something. Find that moment in each chapter and see if the story leading up to that moment builds it up the right way and the action after it not just carries it through the rest of the story, but also echoes and sets off to the next.
    2. Raise the stakes. If in one scene the character might fall and break their leg, make it so they might fall and break their neck. If it's a job at stake, make it their career. Remember just because a car blows up or blood flies doesn't mean the tension goes up with it.
    3. It could be, a lot of beginning drafts, that they add a lot of fluff that is first believed to help but really it's not. Most of these fluff paragraphs, I've found, are from when a writer begins writing each day. They're warm-up paragraphs. Go through your work, read each paragraph and, in the margins, write a sentence, phrase or word that summarizes each paragraph. If you can't summarize it, then it can either be deleted or, if it has something you like (a description, a good dialogue who knows) then you can either save it or you can maybe find a way to merge that paragraph with another.
    4. Read through each scene, remembering that scenes with action are better with smaller sentences. Read through and see if that as the story prgogresses the tension is building, the stakes are either getting higher or the character (or maybe just the reader) become aware of just how much is at stake. If you don't see anything getting bigger then find a way.
    5. Identify the turning points. These are just as important as the cross hair moments. A way to make a story feel faster, more exciting, is to make a scenes multi-task. If a scene only has character development or has some sort of action then maybe you can fuse them together. Make scenes multi-task if you can, if it can help the story's pace and tension.

    These are suggestions which have helped me so I hope it helps you.
    Good luck and happy writing.
     
  12. BrokenFiction

    BrokenFiction Acolyte

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    All. The. Time. In fact that is one of my biggest problems in my own writing and one of the reasons I joined the community for help. I stop early and often with every damn thing I write. It's chronic and I need to get it under control. Most of the reason in the past (I think), had to do with pantsing my way through everything. I'm forcefully converting myself to an outliner, though.
     
  13. James Chandler

    James Chandler Minstrel

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    Perhaps the reason you are bored is that in doing the work you have developed more as a writer and a reader. That's great. I would not go back and re-write what you have written. But, maybe take notes about what you would change in the next draft. Also, identify the elements and characters you want to keep and finish the project. Make the rest of the work more interesting. Nobody will care if a boring character or plot point suddenly disappears in the middle of the first draft or even if there is a drastic change in the story.
     
  14. Rorick

    Rorick Scribe

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    Like a lot of people have said: keep going.

    Saying that though, again a repeated point: Why is it boring?

    I read a good post yesterday about plotting (beware: sweary). Some people don't like to plot, I do. It works for me. A good tip though is to just get right into the guts of it and just start asking questions. Hard questions. Loads of them. About everything.

    There's a great quote in there from Matt Stone and Trey Parker:

    It may be boring you because it's just a succession of events (conjecture, I don't know this). Characters drive plots. Not the other way around. Start exploring your characters more, not necessarily as part of the book, outside. Write some flash fiction. Set yourself a challenge: Clive my sword-wielding innkeeper of doom goes down to market to buy a talking goat. Start exploring what on earth they'd do in that situation. Learn about your characters and become their friend. Then you'll stop it from being boring. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  15. Jackarandajam

    Jackarandajam Troubadour

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    Happens to me too. It's nice to be able to strip out the boring parts, but sometimes they contain some necessary bit of information, or log miles travelled, or so on. A good way to throw a little spice into a boring segment is to add interesting dialogue.

    If, instead of this boring walk across this giant field, your characters are chit chatting about back history, the prize at the end of the mission, their beef with so&so... you know, some relevant, engaging dialogue, that tends to help me out. My writing style tends to be far too light on dialogue, though, so I'm always looking for a spot to throw a little more into the mix.

    Of course if that doesn't work, and the field is still boring, maybe it's time to carpet bomb said field with rockets that turn into baby Hydra's on impact.

    Or yank the field, and replace it with a Troll bridge.

    Or flood it with raspberry jam and a goose-stepping army of Mr. Bean clones.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  16. Xitra_Blud

    Xitra_Blud Sage

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    Yep. This happens to me all the time. I think you should ask yourself whether it's necessary for the story. If so, I'd leave it in there and maybe tweak it up so that it sounds more interesting. If it's not important then ditch it. I had a story in which I wrote a whole chapter to, only to come back and read that chapter about a year later and realize how, not only boring, but useless it was. Needless to say, I ditched it.
     
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