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Boring is Good

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Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:55 am
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Snoink says...

One time, I emailed a chapter of my story, FREAK to another writer. She looked at it, and this was her response: "It was a good boring chapter."

Boring??? I was immediately offended. Boring is good? I asked her what she meant.

"Nothing. It was boring. A nice chapter."


I've read several books on novel writing to try to develop my style. In them, the authors talked on and on about how action was always a must and how there should be no scene where there is any pause. It should just lead to the climax.

In a way, this seems to be true. Many authors (published ones included) use boring parts as an excuse for mediocre writing, which is always bad, and intense scenes for fabulous writing. We never seem to remember the boring stuff at first. It's the action that leads us on.

With that said, is there something wrong with a boring chapter?

Looking back at my own novel, I am noticing little bits and pieces of boring stuff. That is, it seems that there isn't any action. At first, when I was reading it, I was tempted to cut it out. The only thing that really stopped me was that it was cute and I liked it. Yes, the books said that boring was bad, but I liked it.

So what to do?

I thought about it for a while and finally I decided that boring can be good. If you have a particularly intense story, the reader will feel anxious about what is going on, and every once and a while, you have to pat the reader's back and reassure him that it's okay. Remember when you were little your mom read to you stories, and when you got anxious and squirmed under the covers, your mom would look up at you and maybe pat your feet to comfort you? Same idea.

Good boring scenes will tie up any loose ends that need to be tied and give the reader a chance to pause and reflect back on the story. No, the reader will probably not remember them after he shuts the book, but at the same time, they help the overall flow of the story and serve as excellent transitional tools.

In short? Boring is good.

Don't be afraid to pause after several action scenes for a chapter which is less intense, especially when you feel it ought to be there. In the end, writing is what is right for you. Don't be afraid to write.
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.

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Sat Sep 15, 2007 6:44 pm
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Rydia says...

$Hmmm. That's a good point. Some books have way too much action these days and I'm always relieved when I find a story that takes the time to explain things and gives their caracters a chance to rest and interact. It can also add a touch of realism to the story so yes, boring is good. Well said Snoink.
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Sat May 17, 2008 11:48 pm
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aestar101 says...

Now I don't feel bad for writing boring parts in my peices of literature.
Character is what you have left when you've lost everything you can lose. - Evan Esar
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Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:32 pm
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fragile_heart(!) says...

I call those 'time-fillers'. They:
a) Take up space in a good way, because they're tieing up loose ends, but they're not creating new ends that need tieing.
b) Help me slip in a few extra, not too important, but still pretty valuable pieces of information.

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