Mastering the Boring Parts

Sitting down to write a novel can seem glamorous, but it takes a serious commitment in work and attitude. Yes, there’ll be those moments when the muses seems to sing and pure genius flows from your fingertips onto the page.

Mostly though, the process of writing a marathon that lasts months or even years. Much of it tediously boring.

The advice of artist Tonci Zonjic in his Not/But series perfectly encapsulates this dilemma. Instead of skipping the boring parts, how can we pump them up so they’re not boring? After all, it takes at lot of work to finish a novel.

Embrace “What If”

No matter what you’re working on, switching your viewpoint can change everything. What would happen if a certain character didn’t slog through the boring scene you had planned? Instead of having a boring transition, perhaps the scene can delve into a character’s backstory or their own inner turmoil. Predictable scenes are boring scenes. 

Get Excited About the Slow Parts

We so often think about where we’re going, we miss where we actually are. As a writer, this can suck the passion out of a scene. We think about the next exciting moment in the story as we go through the motions on what’s happening now. 

Readers will sense your lack of enthusiasm for the prose and then you’ll lose them. When you are bored by what you’re doing, so will the reader. 

Go Even Slower

Our first instinct when faced with the tedious bits of writing is to speed up and get them over with in a jiffy. But this will only exacerbate the problem. By rushing, you’ll be content with vague words, formulaic ideas or cliches. 

Going slower will make sure you fully realize each moment of the writing. It might take you even longer to pen the scene, but it’ll be worth it to the reader. They’ll probably breeze through the chapter in five minutes. No one needs to know that it took weeks of hard work. 

There will always be boring bits in the creation process. Instead of skipping or ignoring these moments, we can dig in and get really good at the boring parts. This will elevate the writing as a whole. 

Tim Kane

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