1. Sean2112bd
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    Sean2112bd Member

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    How to make boring scenes interesting

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Sean2112bd, Jan 19, 2011.

    I posted a short story a while back on this forum and in that story the action starts right at the beginning, and I did that mainly as a hook. I realized later, however, that I was using the action hook to compensate for my inability to write less than exciting scenes. I think a good writer needs to know how to write boring things more so than exciting things since a good writer will know how to make boring things exciting, which is why I've decided to rewrite the beginning of my short story in order to strengthen my weakness.

    Anyway, my question is how do you write a boring scene and make it exciting, turning it into a hook?

    For example: A car ride.how do you make that exciting using only descriptions and setting. No dialogue and no major conflicts (maybe small conflicts), at least for the first paragraph.

    I know that I shouldn't limit my options, but I'm trying to have it correspond with what I'm writing in my short story since my characters don't talk at this point and the conflict doesn't arise until the action (which was my original hook).
     
  2. Beginner's Mind
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    Beginner's Mind New Member

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    Mmmm....no action is not necessarily boring. It can be comforting, relaxing. Make the reader feel the scene. Stimulate something fond in the reader's memory. I remember when I was younger, my sister used to read comic books on the living room floor next to the electric heater while eating peanut butter toast and drinking milk. Somehow, though that is uneventful, it does not bore me. It seems warm and innocent.

    A car ride can have dialogue. Interesting convos, humor.
     
  3. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think mundane scenes become interesting when they're filled with meaning (although it's easier said than done). For example, even if the dialogue between the characters is everyday, it can reveal important things about them and their relationships. Even if the main character faces nothing more exciting than choosing between Coke or Pepsi, the reasoning behind his choice may reveal his politics, health concerns, self image, and so on.
     
  4. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    Well, If I start reading a book, and it's boring, I at least read the first three chapters, so it doesn't have to be right away.
    And an opening scene doesn't have to be an action one for it to be called a hook. It can be a beautiful scenery, or a nice dialogue.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I can't make a scene interesting I don't write it.

    However a car journey can be made interesting with thoughts, music on the radio etc Maybe they swerve to miss something etc If there isn't anything then they in car, drive, get out of car. That is the scene.
     
  6. Fiona
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    Fiona Member

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    I think it's important to remember that some of the less action-packed/exciting scenes can be just as vital to building a story.

    If I am reading a horror novel, I need a "break" at times within the story. I don't want demons and fear and suspense the whole way through. Sometimes you need that "break" in action or suspense in order to build the reader up towards the next big thing to occur.

    When you are writing a scene that you would consider boring, then ask yourself is it a neccessary scene? Don't fill a book or pad it out. Add what is needed. If it IS neccessary, but not exciting, then try and use as much imagination as you can. What are the characters thoughts when driving to the local store? What wounded animal did your MC see on the ground whilst walking through the woods? You can add a lot of detail and creativity and build up your character this way through those less dramatic scenes.

    Try to remember your reader isn't stupid. I'm sure most readers are able to take each scene within the context of the story. I don't mind a scene where the characters discuss the shopping list or if they argue over who is taking the trash out - as long as it means I am learning something about the character and moving forward with the story. It has to have a place in the novel as a whole but it doesn't always have to be an amazing event.

    Stick with neccessary scenes but use the less active, dramatic moments to help your reader learn more about your MC's mind and thoughts, perhaps.
     
  7. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    I agree with Fiona.
    For example, in Harry Potter, there are some scenes where they have to do some research on something, or Harry is just walking down the hall, or Ron introduces Harry to his family. There are a lot of scenes that are not interesting, but still vital to the story. Well, for me those scenes were interesting, because you get absorbed into that world, and it's just one more scene in a magnificent book. Try to balance out conflict scenes with normal scenes, having the perfect balance will make an excellent read.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i dont know if this is the answer to your question but i'd say if a scene is boring, think about if its important for the story, if it really must be there or if its just a transition from one important scene to another. if so shorten it or cut it altogether.

    "A great story is life, with the dull parts taken out."
     
  9. Haribo Icecream
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    Haribo Icecream Member

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    Depends on the story, and context... maybe a sensory description of what's going on around the MC?
     
  10. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I'd just skip over a driving scene or a dinner scene unless I was either desperately padding (I'm looking at you, NaNoWriMo) or there was plot-relevant stuff happening there that couldn't happen anywhere else. In which case it's always best to have some tension - even if it's as simple as the character isn't at ease because they feel threatened, or, perhaps, her bra strap pings undone at the fancy dinner, and she's been introduced to all these important people... I dunno. :p Something to drive a narrative through it so the thoughts aren't all just "So here's another person doing another thing..."

    Like, to take the example of Harry Potter, the times when Harry meets Ron's family, the first time he's terrified of missing the train, and pretty much uses them to get him onto the platform, so their description and so on are seen through that terror. The second time, he's just turned up in a car the twins stole, and Mrs Weasley is laying into them all, so of course he's terrified, and embarrassed. Not the usual sort of casual introduction, really :p
     
  11. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You need to know why the scene is there.

    Is there a point to the driving scene? What do you want to reveal in it?
     
  12. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    Use every non-action area as a place for character development.
     
  13. LaurenORIM
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    LaurenORIM New Member

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    Agree.
     
  14. Sean2112bd
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    Sean2112bd Member

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    Thanks guys. Actually I do find the scene I'm writing somewhat necessary because it introduces the characters and reveals some of the protagonist's personality. Also, it introduces the setting which I didn't have in the beginning before.
     

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