Have you got bored writing a scene? Does it mean the scene is boring?

(14 Posts)
schroedingersdodo Mon 25-Jan-16 14:57:49

I started writing a scene and then felt utterly bored by it. So, I thought, maybe it means the scene will be boring to the reader just the same.

Does it make sense? What can I can to improve it? Work on the emotional bits? Make it "funnier" (do I need to be funny, though?). Make it more atmospheric?

The scene is quite important to the story, and SHOULD be exciting. (maybe the character is not excited enough, or not transmitting the excitement?)

How do you deal with scenes that look dull to you, as a writer?

Dunlurking Mon 25-Jan-16 16:35:22

Oooh I can empathise with this!

Sometimes I insert a random, completely unrelated object/thought/emotion as a challenge to myself. Like those exercises where you have to put a wheelbarrow, a colour, a pressure cooker, and a lizard all into a story - or something equally ridiculous, IYSWIM. Or one writing tutor told us the dialogue lines in a scene had to begin with consecutive letters of the alphabet. It generates new thoughts and interest for me.

Have you worked out the arc/beats you need to cover in the scene?

Donald Maas has lots of exercises to jazz things up in his Writing the Breakout Novel book. You could try this one - ask yourself why your character is in this scene - not in terms of plot reasons but their inner reasons - motivations. List them. Usually the list starts with the immediate needs - physical and emotional, then secondary needs - information, support, avoidance, comfort, curiosity, and at the bottom high motivations such as search for truth, thirst for justice, longing for love etc. Then he suggests you reverse your list so the ones at the bottom become the most important and rewrite the scene with that in mind. Which usually results in the characters acting a bit differently and with more passion.

Hope you can get back into it OK.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 25-Jan-16 16:38:25

My experience is that scenes that bore me will bore the reader. Does the scene really have to be in there in that form? Can you not pick up the story after it's happened?

Dunlurking Mon 25-Jan-16 16:42:54

Sorry Donald Maass - two ss! I should say that exercise is copied almost verbatim from his book - I wouldn't want anyone to accuse me of plagiarism. Hope it's OK to post it here.

schroedingersdodo Mon 25-Jan-16 18:06:05

Dunlurking thanks a lot for the suggestions, the one with the motivations sounds promising.

countess the scene is very necessary, and is supposed to be exciting, romantic, and a lot of things. I just have to make all this appear on the paper!

It's so nice to see other people who understand the problem. I usually write alone and have no one to talk about the writing... smile

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 25-Jan-16 18:13:40

In that case, could you start it later/finish it earlier? Is it a problem with the shape of the scene? If you draw a line on paper representing its shape does it drag at the start/tail off?

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 25-Jan-16 18:14:43

Have you tried cutting out all the parts that bore you and leaving the bits that don't?

schroedingersdodo Mon 25-Jan-16 22:06:13

Countess, I haven't written that much yet. I got bored while I was writing it! blush

But I'm working on it again, looks a bit better. smile

Dunlurking Tue 26-Jan-16 16:27:55

Glad to hear it's coming better. Now if I could just feel a bit more inspired myself. I have to produce a 500 word soliloquy on a rite of passage moment (of an imagined character) for the writing group I go to for R&R from any serious writing. Think it's a bit too serious a topic for R&R on this occasion. Help!

wordassociationfootball Wed 27-Jan-16 10:34:27

Work out why you're bored by the scene.

Start writing on a piece of paper with a pen:

'I am bored by this scene because...'
IME You will then write on and say stuff like, 'I can't find the true emotions behind it because I'm scared I don't know my mc well enough.
Or 'I'm worried the motivation of Y is contrived to fit X'

schroedingersdodo Thu 28-Jan-16 22:37:36

Thanks for the suggestions. This is my first time writing a book from beginning to end. Some scenes are just easy, but I need the others to fill the gaps in the story. Hopefully by my 4th book I'll have learnt it!

schroedingersdodo Thu 28-Jan-16 22:38:31

And my word count has been about 500 a day. Pityful.

I was aiming at 1000 a day, but it is not happening...

Please, tell me that eventually I will finish smile

wordassociationfootball Fri 29-Jan-16 09:38:46

Just turn up every day. It keeps the pump primed.

HarrietVane99 Fri 29-Jan-16 10:06:11

Yes, I find that happens sometimes. I used to get hung up on it for ages, stuck on one scene and not able to progress. I still do sometimes, but try not to.

What I try to do now, the first attempt at writing a big scene, I just focus on getting down the outline. What happened, what the characters learned, etc. Then I move on with the story. I go back later and add more drama and emotion.

Plenty of dialogue, but short, sharp sentences, not long speeches. Not too much description, focus on what your character is thinking and feeling.

The important thing is, it doesn't have to be right first time.

And try not to angst about wordcount. Thinking time can be just as important as getting words on the screen.

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