Good morning, amazing writing community. I hope you’re all well.
I wanted to take today to share one of my biggest writing fears. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this. What if my novel is boring?
When you spend so much time with the story, it can be hard to tell. And just because you love it, does it mean anyone else will find it interesting? I had such a dilemma about this during early drafts of my W.I.P. and I think it’s about time I shared how I dealt with it, so that you can too.
1. Add a plot twist
Now, you should never shock for the sake of shocking. Plot twists should be clever, well thought out and, though surprising, they should make sense. There has to be a reason, so that the reader isn’t left confused, or the twist left feeling cheap. But done well, a plot twist can help avoid dull moments in your novel. It switches up the story, forces your characters to take a new turn, and will leave readers eager to find out more. If you find a lull in your story think of ways to raise the stakes, inject danger, or surprise the reader.
2. Play ‘what if?’
This ties in with the point above, and is a great way to switch up the story. If you’re at a point in your story that feels slow, boring or dull, play ‘what if?’ Ask yourself “What if this happened instead” or “What if this character did this?” You’ll end up inspiring yourself with potential scenarios and outcomes, and when you find one that fits the story and is exciting, suspenseful or interesting then go for it!
3. Seek feedback
I have spoken passionately about reasons to seek feedback/beta readers, and I will always stand by it. My novel would not be where it is today without the amazing people who offered to read it and give feedback. You can ask readers directly to tell you honestly if any parts of the story are boring, you can ask if they lost interest and if they skimmed over any sections. This means you have honest, impartial feedback from someone outside of the story, who aren’t as close to it as you are. You can then work on making those parts more enticing, before sending it out again to see if it’s made a difference. You can also ask whether the twists were too obvious, so that you can shake them up if needed.
4. Be honest with yourself
Do you have a scene you love, love, love, even though it adds nothing to the pace of the story? I know that feeling. I had a scene that withstood multiple drafts, simply because it had been one of my very early ideas and I couldn’t bare to let it go. Even though I knew, deep down, that it was boring. It added nothing to the story, and was there only because I felt it deserved to be. Eventually, I had to be honest with myself and admit that it was slow, dull and pointless. My story was stronger for deleting that scene, as I replaced it with something more dynamic. So my advice here is be honest with yourself, and don’t keep scenes if you know in your heart they aren’t working.
Have you ever worried about your story being boring? What did you do to overcome those feelings? Comment below or message me to share your thoughts.