When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

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jfrankel
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When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

Post by jfrankel » November 12th, 2010, 3:10 pm

Question for you all...I've been slogging through a few scenes and passages in my WIP, but I'm wondering...When I'm semi-bored writing (not necessarily my idea, just when the writing has become as automatic as the typing) do we think that the reader is going to be bored stiff too? Do I need to be engaged with every word written for that enthusiasm to come through to the reader? Or maybe autopilot is a good thing...

I'd love to get people's thoughts on this.

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cheekychook
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Re: When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

Post by cheekychook » November 12th, 2010, 3:29 pm

jfrankel wrote:Question for you all...I've been slogging through a few scenes and passages in my WIP, but I'm wondering...When I'm semi-bored writing (not necessarily my idea, just when the writing has become as automatic as the typing) do we think that the reader is going to be bored stiff too? Do I need to be engaged with every word written for that enthusiasm to come through to the reader? Or maybe autopilot is a good thing...

I'd love to get people's thoughts on this.
I don't know that that's something you can be sure about while you're writing it. Get it down. Set it aside. Reread it a few days or weeks later. If it's boring then, you'll know.
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Margo
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Re: When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

Post by Margo » November 12th, 2010, 3:45 pm

jfrankel wrote:Or maybe autopilot is a good thing...
Speaking personally, the scenes I have slogged through have later turned out to be low-tension scenes. Since I am someone who tends to write slower, editing as I go and doing fewer overall revisions, autopilot is a bad thing for me. However,if you're a writer who functions better just getting the skeleton of the story down and layers on the more important content over several revisions, this might not be a bad thing. I would suggest, however, than you take note of what scenes you wrote on autopilot. In my experience, those will require closer attention later.
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Re: When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

Post by jfrankel » November 12th, 2010, 4:27 pm

Interesting notes....I'll have to pay attention to those scenes that I'm auto-ing on. I sometimes don't even realize when I am! Maybe tag them in the doc and then check to see any similarities in content, style, etc later for flaws....

THANKS!

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Re: When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

Post by sierramcconnell » November 12th, 2010, 6:29 pm

Basically, if I'm not having fun, they won't be either.

Of course, I write what I like to call 'crack'. So... XD

I want even the down scenes to be page turners, don't you?
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Re: When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

Post by WRG » November 12th, 2010, 8:50 pm

I've always assumed that if a section of the story is boring to me, with my ability to see the whole story and understand all the characters' motivations, then my readers will be snoozing.

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Re: When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

Post by Fenris » November 13th, 2010, 5:50 pm

I have the same problem, and my beta readers notice every time. I know it's tempting to get the story down as quickly as possible so it can't escape, and in most cases it's a good idea. But I think if you find yourself unwilling to write a particular scene (i.e. it's boring, or you really just want to get it done so you can get to the next exciting scene), you should stop right there and take a break. Instead of focusing on what has yet to come, focus on how you can make the scene in question beautiful in its own right.

Of course, if the scene itself is inherently boring, why is it there in the first place?
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Re: When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

Post by Margo » November 13th, 2010, 8:08 pm

Fenris wrote:Of course, if the scene itself is inherently boring, why is it there in the first place?
Pretty much.
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Re: When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

Post by dios4vida » November 19th, 2010, 10:53 am

Boredom is definitely bad for us and our readers. But if you're in a first draft, I think it's okay to be a bit bored for a little. You can always spice things up in the rewrites. That's what I do and it works for me so that I don't sit and labor over the wording of one scene when there's a crowd of others waiting to be written. There's no better way for me to make a creative bottleneck than to focus on one scene endlessly rather than the whole novel.
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Nathan Bransford
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Re: When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

Post by Nathan Bransford » November 20th, 2010, 2:45 pm

I go through stretches where I think everything I'm writing is terrible and boring, but that has more to do with the fact that writing is not always fun 100% of the time. Sometimes it can be a bit of a slog.

I'd go with what you're writing for now, and wait to make any judgments on the quality of what you've written until some time has passed. You'll have a better perspective on it later.

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Re: When its boring for me, is it boring for the reader?

Post by J. T. SHEA » November 20th, 2010, 6:41 pm

May I draw a distinction between boring and difficult? I rarely find my WIP boring, either to write or reread. But I often find it difficult to write, though not to reread.

If I can find something specifically wrong, I fix it. If not, though, I am careful to not instantly cut on the basis of a vague doubt. As Nathan has outlined, things can look better in time. They can look worse, too, but not as often, in my experience. Whatever bears the burden of rereading well has something going for it.

What is boring to write may indeed be boring to read. But what is difficult to write may be easy to read, once the writer has met and overcome the difficulties. A scene may be boring to write because it is not necessary or even desirable. But a scene may be difficult to write precisely because it IS so necessary and important. We may be tempted to write around such scenes, summarizing or reporting them indirectly, as Shakespeare did notoriously with the last act of A WINTER'S TALE. So notoriously that George Bernard Shaw (I think) rewrote it centuries later!

Of course, if writing novels was easy everybody would be doing it, now wouldn't they? Oh wait. Everybody IS writing novels, it seems. Unless they're writing non-fiction...

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