Thursday, February 3, 2011

Boring Parts

Hello there!

Today I would like to talk about “boring parts” of novel-writing. Often when sitting at my computer, I will just stare at my novel (and that blinking cursor), and think, “this part is really, really boring. When am I going to get to the cool part?”

A lot of advice has been given on this topic. Some people say you should skip forward and write the interesting part. Others say the interesting part should be a reward for working on the boring part. I also did a quick search about “boring parts” on the NaNoWriMo website forums (because a lot of writers post their opinions and indeed complainants there) and found several people who claimed they didn't plan on having any boring parts in their novel. (Here's the link to the forums)

While that may seem to be useless to someone who is currently stuck, in fact one of the users, “premiumcider” had this to say. “I'm actually looking forward to the moments where they just have dinner, or set up a fire, just because then I'll get to write DIALOGUE and BONDING! And ARGUMENTS! Ok, enough caps now. I want to see what they talk about apart from their quest, how they interact and things like that.”

This reminded me of something a friend once said about conflict. Her argument was that the truest form of conflict was having two people interact. That internal conflict was all well and good, but that having someone look inward would always have them find the influence of other people within. Additionally, the words “dialogue, bonding, and arguments” all involve two or more people.

It's interesting because I found that the “boring parts” were only boring because I was imagining my characters as pawns that I needed to move from one point to another in a painstaking, boring process—when in reality, I was simply loosing sight of the current dramatic potential between characters because I was too focused on the future dramatic potential.

I also realized that I had been isolating one character, having her move through the scenes without coming into dramatic contact with other characters, and that in order to give her more dramatic potential I clearly needed to give her the opportunity to interact with others.

So when you're writing and you think it's boring, examine whether or not your characters are in dramatic conflict or if they are isolated, or even if they're simply talking but nothing is happening (a whole 'nother kettle of fish). Then pump up the drama! :P I read too many writing books written by people who write thrillers, they're always like “add tension! Add intensity! Add drama!”

And I shall see you on Saturday to talk about Natalie Goldberg and details in writing.


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