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  1. Chromine
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    Chromine New Member

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    How Do I Make Boring Interesting?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Chromine, Dec 8, 2015.

    I'm really into boring or normal situations with one small thing about them that makes it interesting or weird(Like writing about a character walking down the street). But how would you do that without taking a reader out of the story? I get the basic concept of making a regular situation exciting, just throw in a gun and some explosions and then multiple different ways to make someone interested in the situation appear...but how would someone make the walk by itself interesting without anything flashy? Atmosphere? Extreme detail? While I am very new to writing I'd like to know what specific parts of writing to focus on to achieve my goals.

    I'm definitely up to study anything, and I already go back through books I own to
    figure out what about certain scenes makes me like them, but I don't have any books
    that are for specifically for what I want to do. I read a lot of action...
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why is the character walking down the street? Why is that moment in the book instead of skipped? I would say that if a moment is utterly boring in every way, and doesn't serve any purpose, it should be skipped. So I need more information about why the moment is in the story/book.
     
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  3. Chromine
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    Chromine New Member

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    The moment would be in the book because it's normal. I'm not asking how to make boring sections of a book interesting like spicing up the car drive on the way to a battle, I'm asking how to make something that is purposely uneventful interesting.
     
  4. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Is there some common place thing like continual conflict in the city where your MC happens to live? Then the life and death aspect of the benign activity of walking down the street can be considered exciting. That is in a way where the MC is nonchalant about the threat of severe injury, or death amongst what ever else could happen to them. Just an idea to dress up an otherwise dull activity. :p Good Luck.
     
  5. Chromine
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    Chromine New Member

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    Thanks for the advice, but I'm not really trying to dress up the situation...I'm trying to have the situation be recognized as boring while keeping people into it. Which...may not be possible due to Boring and Interesting being opposites. Maybe what I'm asking for is impossible. Though I have before seen what you recommended.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can you clarify "because it's normal"?
     
  7. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    What about memories of things that have happened on the street. Or the reputation of a neighbour.
     
  8. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it depends on the story you're trying to tell. If your character is walking down the street to go to the doctor, images he negatively associates with the act will be highlighted. Perhaps seeing sick people coughing etc... This might make him think of some horrible things he may be diagnosed with, adding to tension or simply showing his pessimistic side as maybe some kind of foreshadowing. It doesn't have to be something out of the ordinary, so long as he sees it in his own way.

    Whether it has guns or explosions or not, I've always found that if it relates to what's going on with the character(s) and story, then it it will be as Interesting as the story and characters are, which is often why people are reading your awesome book in the first place.

    Also, if the scene is just filler, you might want to scrap it and come up with something more interesting to show anyway. Options!
     
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  9. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Then use the time and action of the generic walk down the street to your advantage. Have them be thinking about something worth noting. Be it an emotional memory/event, or some future plans/scheme.

    I in a way did something similar with a character going through physical training as part of the standard as a new recruit. While letting small bits here and there about what they were doing/feeling physically, they spend the majority thinking and comparing two concepts at great length. Questioning the ethical and moral implications and how they are similar and not at all. It is more of a personal dilemma for the character as it involves aspects of their previous life.

    Perhaps you could try something like that? No need to dress the scene, but lets us have a personal look into relating to the character and there perspectives/thoughts. Just a thought. :p
     
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  10. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    I second this. Moments like these are perfect for digging into the character's head and showing the thoughts to the reader. This is where you have great potential for making the reader relate to the character--give them moments of vulnerability, indecision, tension, emotional wavering, etc. That's real stuff. Triggers can be external or internal.

    I'd argue not to make it too long, but in times when there are not many external stimuli, going internal is usually a good transitional approach.

    Also agree that if it really isn't clicking, maybe scrapping it is best. Sometimes scenes just aren't important enough to make the final cut.
     
  11. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Quoted for agreement. Moments where not much is going on outside the character is the ideal time to start them thinking, reacting.

    Perhaps your MC has a very odd view of the world, and you could show this by having them express their unusual opinions about very normal people and locations.

    Perhaps there's some history there. Maybe the MC grew up in those streets. Maybe they're particularly interested by how things are very different from the past, or how little they changed.

    As there are a number of Kiwis here, I'll mention that I grew up near the Stoddard Road shops in Auckland New Zealand. On my most recent visit, I was very interested to see how those shops had developed over time, bought food there, had my hair cut there. I wandered around looking at each shop. Some had changed more than others. It made an impression on me.

    Maybe the MC hasn't been there for a while, and there are important memories. Perhaps there is one spot where their brother was run over by a car. They can't walk past there without wondering how their life would have been different had they not been (effectively) an only child. Perhaps this was the place where they saw the love of their life walking away never to be seen again, and it's a big thing for them to be able to face this very normal street again.

    There are lots of reasons to have a simple walk through a neighbourhood in a book, IMHO.
     
  12. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    yes. This is something I had to learn to do as well. Cut out the walking down the streets that serve no purpose other to fill the scene. If your character is walking down the street maybe use that as a time for mental reflection where the reader get to learn more about the character or as PP said, skip it all together.
     
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  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Part of the issue with this is, I think, the definition of "boring". If you just mean a moment when there are no helicopters exploding, bullets flying, or sex, I would say that those moments aren't the least bit boring. The Agatha Christie mystery The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side could be argued as being mostly boring moments.

    There is indeed a scene with a character (Miss Marple) taking a walk. That scene is tied to the rest of the plot in many ways, but it's not at all obvious in the moment--in the moment, what makes it interesting is Miss Marple's reflection on how things used to be in her village, how they are now, and her curiosity about the changes. In that scene the main change is a new, modern housing development. Miss Marple wanders around this unfamiliar place, and slowly makes analogies between the people there and people she's known, and gets pleasure from making those analogies. Eventually she does trip and fall, which gives the plot an opportunity to introduce her to an important character, but the scene is interesting before that.
     
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