Have you ever been writing, just minding your own business, as your characters run around, doing their stuff, advancing the story line, furthering their own development, ultimately inching the story ever closer to its explosive climax and gripping conclusion, when you suddenly realized that
A. You are absolutely bored to tears, and
B. You can barely stand to read what you’ve written.
Well, if this happens to you, never fear! Unless this is your usual state of writing, in which case I recommend you find a new hobby, or job, or whatever the case may be—one which doesn’t involve writing. But if this is just a temporary affliction, there are several easy fixes which will help you keep your writing fresh and exciting for you, and more importantly, for your readers. Because if even you are bored by your writing, that’s only going to be compounded for your readers. Here are three easy ways to freshen up your novel, even when you find yourself utterly uninspired.
- Cut the Chit-Chat
In my experience, oftentimes when my writing lacks depth, drive, and decisiveness, it’s due to an imbalance between dialogue and description. Most likely, I will have written long passages reliant almost entirely on dialogue, with very little description thrown in. These passages often ramble pointlessly, as characters are forced to hash out every basic detail and delicate nuance of the plot. Sometimes, I become so focused on the dialogue that entire chapters of rambling, mindless, forced discussion ensue. If you want to keep engaged with the story and further the plot without driving your readers mad, cut the chit-chat. Delete, delete, delete. Every unnecessary, dull line of dialogue must go, and in its place, use description to keep the reader filled in.
2. Sum it Up or Flesh it Out
There are times, as a writer, when we must make decisions for the good of our story. Examine the scenes you’ve written, and determine which scenes are dull because they are unnecessary, and which scenes are dull because they lack depth or meaning. If a scene seems unnecessary, but cannot be removed because it furthers the story, sum it up. I often write entire scenes which can be shortened into a single paragraph—most often transition scenes, bringing characters from one place to the next. In such a case, shorten through description, or eliminate it entirely and mesh the information into another scene, revealing it bit by bit. If a scene simply lacks depth or meaning, then add to it. Flesh it out. Remove dull, dragging sections, and replace them with a solid, meaningful balance of dialogue and description. Sometimes, a point will be lost because it is carried on for too long—to the point where it becomes painfully obvious and loses its meaning. Other times, a point will be lost because it is not carried on long enough—and a couple lines of dialogue are not enough to capture the depth and breadth of a character’s experience.
3. Make it Personal
Even if you are writing in a fictional universe which only exists in the deepest corners of your imagination, you have to make every scene, every chapter relevant to you, or your work will certainly not be relevant to readers. Maybe you don’t have any personal experience to draw upon when writing a gunfight, and that’s okay. That’s why you have that imagination of yours. But colour everything you write with your personal experiences, and you will find a more vibrant, living world breathing on your pages.
Now that you’ve stoked that writing fire deep within your soul, go forth! Write well! And never, never, ever write anything that bores you.
Love you all!