Sunday, 27 December 2009

We don't want boring!

A common mistake I see when editing new authors is when they downplay a chapter.
Here are some examples:

"She knew it would be a boring day."
"He looked at the file, it was standard stuff."
"Robin went through her day like she did everyday." 
"It was a normal day."

Thanks for sharing... now I have two words for you: please don't. 

Take the first example: If you tell the reader it's going to be a boring day, why would they care to read about it? If your friend asked you, 'How was your day?' and you replied, 'Boring.' You would never then go on and describe that pitifully boring day would you? And if you did, wouldn't you try to make it sound as exciting and interesting as possible? 

Why would you do that to your readers? I immediately groan when writers proceed to do this very thing. 

I'm not saying your writing should be non-stop chase scenes but you shouldn't bog the reader down with 'boring, mundane, normal, or standard' days. 'It was a normal day' should immediately be followed by an until, but, then, or some other transition to exciting or unusual.

We don't want boring!

Picture source: here


Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

That's a really interesting point, I'll keep that in mind when I'm writing something for school (eghh). Thanks!

D Swizzle said...

Wow, good to know. I'll pass it along to author friends!

DK said...

It is true indeed... But not entirely. You can write an intense story about a boring day if that is your subject.

Unknown said...

Eeek...what a good point! Now let me tell you about my boring day...

Ann Elle Altman said...

Thank you everyone for your comments. It's true DK, you can write an intense story about your boring day and if that's what those authors did, I would have applauded them.

I think the point is, try not to start a chapter or paragraph stating how normal or boring something is, it makes the reader pause and think, 'Then why did I pay $25 for this book...'

I hope everyone is having a great holiday!


Anonymous said...

What's more, 'It was a boring day' (and the other examples) are 'telling' rather than 'showing.'

If it's got to be boring, at least create the drudgery rather than cheating.