In short: don’t do it.
You might come across a scene that feels boring to write. Then there is this feeling that you have to write it anyway.
Here is my opinion on this situation.
Why the boring scenes?
There is definitely a reason on why to declare a scene as boring.
- The scene is important to the plot and therefore has to be written to have the story make sense at all. But it isn’t interesting in itself, just has to serve a higher plan.
- When starting to write a scene, it doesn’t turn out to be as exiting as planned. Nonetheless, it’s inside the outline and therefore has to get written.
- The structure in use said, that there has to be a particular scene. An although as a writer you don’t feel an urge to write is, it feels appropriate to do so, just to stick to the structure.
Now on with some simple solutions. Just maybe they won’t work for every scene, but always remember, that whenever you as a writer feel that a scene is boring, your reader will instantly start to yawn and skip the scene or stop reading at all…
Don’t write this scene
I’m serious. If you feel like this scene is boring, cut it. There is no sense in writing boring prose. And neither you nor the reader will be entertained.
If something really important happens in this scene, consider to insert it into another scene. Let the characters talk about it in retrospective or give a short summary in the style of “what has happened since last scene?”. There are several possibilities to not write this scene and still follow the plot.
Also consider to change your outline. A good outline should only consist of exiting, entertaining scenes. In the plotting phase, whenever you think about scenes that you just have to include to complete the puzzle, think twice. Do not insert boring scenes on purpose. Think about a solution to make things more exiting…
Make it exiting
This is something I discovered for my own writing, even for not so boring scenes, just when I don’t feel like writing them (right now).
Make it exiting. Think about an aspect or detail that you love or look forward to write. Display this characters quirk in its most inconvenient way. Have a dragon hidden in the closet while your character tries to have a serious conversation and not get caught. Add conflict or missunderstanding between the characters in the scene that makes the dynamic in itself a joy to write.
Some inspiration to make a boring scene exiting:
- Add something you love to write about (special character traits, dragons, tea etiquette,…)
- Change the PoV
- Add a conflict or question to the scene, that will only last for the span of it
- Concentrate on a quirk or detail and highlight it in your descriptions
- Get fancy and try some new techniques (there is always a chance to rewrite and you might explore some fantastic things)
This scene should be about something else
Within the famous screenwriting book “Save the Cat” (by Blake Snyder), this is called “the pope in the pool”. Sometimes there is this boring fact or info dump that you can not avoid by any means.
Transfer this information in the background. To stick with Blake Snyders example, let the pope take a bath in the pool and make that the main thing in the scene. As a subplot so to say, tell your information. The characters explain their observations and planning, while their host is taking his bath.
In short, pack your boring scene into an exiting, entertaining or even ridiculous one. It won’t be boring this way.
How do you deal with boring scenes? Do you share my no-boring-scenes-policy?