author, creative writing, writing

Novel Writing: What If It’s Boring?

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.
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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.

Until then,
Keep writing,

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29 thoughts on “Novel Writing: What If It’s Boring?”

  1. Have definitely thought this after working through so many drafts, but betas (including you 😁) helped me to see it wasn’t boring, just too well known to me. I try to keep that in mind as I continue to edit. Great tips, as usual, Meelie 😊.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve made significant cutting/condensing of the very beginning in my sixth draft because it was too drawn out and delayed from getting to the main storyline with a setup that was far too long and things I eventually managed to reveal in better ways later.
    I also had significant rewrites in what I believe was the fourth draft. I had three action scenes in a short sequence that were far too similar and added little to the story. So I took the best parts of each, condensed it to single action scene and wrote something new that delved deeper into the characters and their choices.
    I hope both those moves helped the story.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I think if, while you are writing your novel you ever become bored, then that’s a sign you need to makes some changes. I agree that beta-readers are essential. Think of a novel in your genre that really engaged you. Go back to it. Underline passages. Annotate pages. Ask yourself what the author did to make this story so engaging. Write down the answers and try to do the same in your work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agree! If the writer finds the story boring, then the reader likely will too. My point more so was the writer’s doubt that creeps in…these tips are for what to do when you don’t find your story boring, but you’re worried that it will be boring for others. That’s why feedback is perfect as it can squash that doubt if the beta readers find it enjoyable/engaging.
      I love your tip on going back to novels you’ve enjoyed to see what made that story work ❀


  4. Another great post. I love how you keep things short and to the point, but also put meaningful content in your blogs. Keep it up! Also, may I ask where you find the pictures for your posts? I have one website I’ve been looking at for free, high-quality pictures, but I’ve been having trouble finding some of what I’ve been looking for, so I was wondering if you use a different source for yours or not.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Excellent pointers to keep the story from stagnating. Sometimes it’s hard to cut scenes, that’s where critical feedback works wonders. And you don’t have to worry about having a boring story, it’s a great novel.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m just about to send my MS out to some fresh beta readers- who are also writers that I respect and enjoy reading from- and this is EXACTLY what I’ve been worrying about! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject. It’s always nice to know that we aren’t alone in our fears! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Anne, so glad this post came at a good time! You’re 100% not alone in your fears, and I’m sure your beta readers will confirm that your story is exciting! Good luck πŸ˜€ xx


  7. Not exactly a plot twist although it could be is some advice I learned from a talk by mystery writer Nora Ephron at a Writer’s Digest conference: After you get your main character in trouble, make the situation even worse.

    Liked by 2 people

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