Pumping up Boring, Nothing Scenes...Make Them Work!

Watch out for Boring, Nothing Scenes!!!
What makes for a unexciting, dull scene?

By analyzing each and every scene, we can learn to avoid tedious scenes. Or at least recognize it when we're doing edits. Write them, fine, just to get something down on the paper. But edit the "boringness" out in the final phases of the process.

So what makes for a boring scene?

** Doing stuff, but not moving the story forward.
** No conflict.
** Not pursuing a goal
** Not showing something new and different...same old things repeated.
** Back story.
** Making unlikeable characters that we really don't care enough about to read.
** Not showing the motivation for why someone does something.
** Failure to show emotion.
** Failure to show actions and their resulting reactions.
** All dialogue.
** All narration.

Now, have you read published works that have scenes like this? Absolutely. I don't know how many times I've read a book and skipped over pages of boring back story or scenes that just don't move the story forward.

So make every scene count. Make them do double duty, triple duty. What do we want to say in the scene? The point we want to get across?

How can we make it as riveting as the rest of our scenes?

Make sure we show the characters pursuing a goal, changing, strengthening the characterizations, showing something that prevents characters from reaching the goal (conflict), show new twists, reveal new information. Make the reader care about our characters.

What else can you do to make boring, nothing scenes spring to life?

We owe it to our readers to hook them so much, they can't put the book down. Out with the boring scenes, in with the riveting. :)
Terry Spear Heart of the Wolf coming April 1st from Sourcebooks!

Winning the Highlander's Heart available now on Amazon.com!


ShawnaMoore said...

Excellent post, Terry! We want those stories and characters to remain memorable and on our keeper shelves :) My favorites are ones I've read time and again and never tired of revisiting those wonderfully created worlds :)


Vonda Sinclair said...

I agree! Wonderful post, Terry! It does drive me crazy when I'm reading a published book with long sections of repeated internalization, stuff I'm not interested in, etc. I remember one not too long ago like that when I did skip pages at a time to get to the action or dialogue. (And won't be buying this (nameless) author's books again.