Oh, a tale as old as time…
Now, I’m usually on the fence or on the opposite side of it when it comes to agreeing with these “writing rules” that I stumble across on Pinterest all the time… but, I have to say, this is one I actually 98.4% agree with.
If you’re bored while writing, then your readers are going to be bored while reading.
I say 98.4%, though, because, of course, there’s always some exceptions to account for 1.6% of the time… but, for now, let’s focus on the big picture.
So, imagine this.
You’re writing a character’s description. And I mean really writing that description. You’re going for it, homedog. You’re talking about Cassandra’s long beachy blonde curly-but-frizzy mid-back-length caramel-highlighted, artificially-colored-but-natuarally-brunette hair… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You go on to describe her body shape in complete depth, her outfit choice today as compared to yesterday’s, the day before’s, and likely tomorrow’s… and her inexplicably chatty personality which we as readers are somehow supposed to believe is actually more talkative than you’re being as an author right now.
Now… really, come on.
Long descriptions really can happen and really are needed in your story sometimes, but they need to be kept in extreme moderation. And by that I mean… occurring less often and remaining limited in length. So… if you feel like you’re getting carried away or bored with how long your descriptions are getting, then please stop, take a breath, reread what you’ve put down, and, above all, keep your readers in the forefront of your mind.
And that’s just one instance of impending boredom.
Now… maybe you also jump on the chance to write your long-awaited action/comedy/drama-packed scene that is seriously just amazing.
Or… maybe just amazing in the first half.
And then you got a little carried away… forgot what the scene was really about… and dragged the whole thing out a little too far. And then it’s suddenly not heart-pumping, pee-your-pants-and-slap-your-neighbor-funny, or God-I-just-wish-she-would-stab-that-man-already-dramatic… or suspenseful in that case, I suppose.
But then even you get a little bored. And you don’t want to write the scene anymore. Now… that’s a tell-tale sign right there that you need reevaluation.
Or… maybe you just actually get feeling really bored while writing any part of your story.
Well, then… yeah, you need to stop and check yourself, too.
(I just had to…)
Now, as a reader reading any of that long, drawn-out or completely too plain content… I, for one, would be tossing your book to the side of the couch in about .07 seconds after the boredom began to settle in. I don’t really enjoy reading like that, just like you probably don’t enjoy writing like that.
So, moral of the story today is…
If you’re feeling bored while writing (and you usually aren’t), then you’re doing something wrong and you’re in the beginning process of letting your readers majorly down.
And what do you do about it?
You stop, breath, and reevaluate what you’ve written so far. Maybe some major changes need to be made, maybe just a few sentences need rewritten, or maybe you’re just having a slightly off day and you need to take a break for a while.
Now… I hope this never happens to you, but honestly, it probably will or has happened to all of us at some point. I know I’ve been a victim, so please know you’re not the only one.
But, for now, just remember…
If you’re bored, then your readers are bored, too.
Let me know if you’ve ever fell into this trap, what you did about it (if anything), and what you plan to do the next time if it ever befalls you!