How to get through a "boring" chapter?

  1. Use these 'slow' chapters to delve into character and background material. Fill out your world. Add elements that add depth to the story and its characters.

  2. I had a similar issue in the story I'm currently writing and that's exactly what I did and I think it really worked out. I was so focused on plot that I gave no time to character development so when it came to a travel scene I just skipped from the beginning of the 5-day journey to the end of the 5-day journey. It didn't sit right as all the characters stuck together for 5 days seemed like something interesting would have happened. It took a little while for me to wrap my head around furthering the plot isn't just moving characters from A to B, but also them playing off each other in conversation.

  3. YMMV, but for me personally, if I really struggle to write a chapter that "needs" to be there, it's usually a bit fat sign that I'm writing the wrong thing.

  4. Can you expand on your first point? I am struggling with thinking some early scenes that are purely for character development are unnecessary. I wouldn’t even call them boring, as they have conflict between characters. They just have nothing to do with the plot, but explain a lot about my MCs motivations.

  5. This is actually pretty stupid advice since interesting and necessary are not the same thing. You want everything in retrospect to make sense so a reader says, “Ah, I see why he put that in there,” but you don’t need everything to be interesting all the time.

  6. Is this always true? Do you mean because if you’re bored, it means you won’t put your best effort into writing into it?

  7. This isn't necessarily true. I've written chapters I found incredibly dull, only to hear from readers that they loved it or that it was their favorite. Similarly, I've had chapters I'm very proud of which doesn't resonate as well with the readers.

  8. If nothing particularly interesting or surprising happens, you may be able to slip past it without devoting the whole chapter. You can simply have a character describe what happened after the fact, or focus on other events occuring at the same time somewhere else, only occasionally showing flashes of key events. If you aren't enjoying writing it out, there's no reason to make your readers suffer as well.

  9. You CAN skip to the good stuff. You don’t have to input filler too much. Heard that once and it changed how I write. Motivation came after ( for me).

  10. This isn’t always true when writing you know what’s going to happen you have a basic plan for where the plot is going so because you know what’s going to happen you’re not really surprised by anything but if you’re reading it and you don’t know what’s going to happen then the surprise factor is still there and because you’ll be surprised more often by the story the story is more exciting

  11. Create mini tensions or mini arcs that propel the reader through the prose. A trivial question can also hold the reader while exposition or linkage are happening (which should be avoided in the first place) A set up/pay off or conflict/res that ties out neatly inside the chapter or Carry’s over to the next then scratches the itch.

  12. Not very helpful advice. Why is the chapter boring? Too wordy? Are the words used at fault? Too much exposition and no action (by action I mean something external or an internal struggle)? To call a chapter «boring » is not helpful. You might as well say it sucks. Break it down, see what elements are causing the boredom, change (or eliminate) them. Or you may decide to dump the whole chapter. Or rewrite from scratch. Just be honest with yourself.

  13. Remember, "show don't tell" is a good tip but it's not the end all be all. Sometimes it's better to tell information instead if it's necessary and if showing it would bog down the story.

  14. If it's got stuff you "have to write because it's part of the story"... stop and figure out what that stuff is, then sprinkle it elsewhere in the piece. Because if writing this chapter bores YOU, can you imagine what reading it will do to someone else?

  15. You just have to make it interesting in other ways, if you are following a side character in this chapter then give some backstory to this character that makes them compelling, throw some vital information to the story that will eventually connect back to the main plot or character, because remember, if the reader can skip a chapter and still follow the story as if nothing happened then there’s no reason to put that chapter in there in the first place, sometimes you need a slower chapter to control the pacing so the reader doesn’t blow through the story too quickly, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be interesting

  16. You just push through. Don’t overthink it. These are the times when writing takes discipline. Think of it as like eating a salad or going to work.

  17. If you’re bored your reader will be bored. You can skip ahead to the interesting part and tease out the missing info through context, dialogue, flashback—a little confusion can actually do a lot to keep a reader engaged!

  18. I say write it, add details, slow the story. Some readers, like me, love a chapter or two that hesitates, is not action packed. Why? It allows me to absorb and pay attention to my favorite characters or settings. I’m in the story feeling it like the characters are real. Once I lit a candle and hung out in the storm, it wasn’t the plot but read slower, absorbed more and I was entertained!

  19. Make it earn its keep by doing more than one job. You're checking off stuff that has to happen to progress the plot, but you can also use that chapter to get into some backstory, or lay out some exposition, or make the next move in the growing friendship (or romance or rivalry or whatever) that the main characters have, or give one of your protagonists a moment of personal growth, or use it as a bit of an emotional palate cleanser where things take a lighter turn after all the big dramatic stuff that's been going on. Or if all else fails, take one of those really great ideas you had that you could never fit into the story and jam it in here to liven things up.

  20. Write it and make it better later. Sometimes ideas come to you after you've written things, so you can add/revise it.

  21. Making boring chapters interesting is the meat of writing. Play with it, rewrite it. Write it wrong and go back to it when you've got a better sense of where you are going. Go back and do something weird. I feel like boring is an important symptom. If not much is happening, but its interesting, you've made it as a writer.

  22. I mean, I guess it depends on the story, but maybe just skip it and summarize it elsewhere? Or treat it like a jump cut in a movie: now you're in another scene, after the one you didn't want to write, and look, that information is just summarized for the reader. Cool.

  23. Break down the entire event into a couple paragraphs or something. If it’s this boring then it’ll turn readers off

  24. I’m new to writing, so I won’t offer any practical advice: I have none. However, philosophically speaking, I like the idea of: before writing a chapter, consider and figure out why this chapter is someone’s favorite chapter.

  25. I was told if I ever get stuck writing something boring, to take a break and write something different. Whether it be a different part of the story or even just a random short story thrown together. It really helps to get your brain juices flowing and working. Also if I find myself doing this I take a good long break of like a day or two, sometimes more. Good luck! :)

  26. I mostly re-read the previous ones so that flow doesn't get messed up. And I do agree with DungeonMaster24 that slow chapters mostly let you build character and background. You can use it to just add up more detail.

  27. Great question — one I think many of us have struggled with at some point. From my own experience, I’d suggest a few things (including echoes of what others have said here already):

  28. Rewrite it. Can you combine the events with a more interesting scene? Is it boring because it doesn't actually add to the story?

  29. There ought to be no such thing as a boring chapter. If it's boring this is your indication that you need to re-work it to have something interesting.

  30. When I'm doing a writing prompt, I tend to write 3 or 4 paragraphs before starting. It is generally an exposition dump to establish the setting and conflict. Then I delete it and all that information gets summarized in a few lines of dialogue or a few snippets throughout the story.

  31. Figure out a way to add some tension. If you have a boring chapter about someone graduating school, make an additional element like your short tempered character sitting next to someone unbearable and we are just waiting to see how the short tempered guy blows up on the other one. Pretty low stakes but can turn a boring chapter into one that is funny or has some tension.

  32. If I'm bored writing something and really don't want to, I go back to the point where it stopped being interesting and start again. I'll usually delete everything to that point and just let it go in a different direction. That usually gets me on the right path. Sometimes it's painful to do if you've done a lot, but it's more painful if it ruins the whole story.

  33. Use it to let the readers get to know the characters more! The little things too! Like what they like, what they usually do, how they'd communicate with different people, ect

  34. If you are bored by the writing, as the writer, imagine the reader. You have to weave in elements of interesting material, that pertain to the plot. It's difficult, but you have to sit down and think of ways to excite, and entice the reader, make them ponder.

  35. Boring is interpretive, and generally an attribute of the immature. Necessary actions can be expressed in script without being a bore, if you can write it well. Conquer and refine, the explore and reassess aspects.

  36. I'll be honest, I gave the chapter that nothing much happened during the whole of it except dialogue, subtle backstory and character development. It was just the characters having midday lunch and they'd get a chance to flesh themselves out more. I figured that since an intense subplot ended, then this would be a nice "break" to pace things out.

  37. In the first chapters a new character is introduced and they interact but it's a bad interaction, they just don't get along, so I wanted to have one chapter of just a break and then another interaction (it sounds silly I now realize but I really want everything to happen really slowly) so I was thinking about developing the MC past but I already did too much :)

  38. I have been having this same issue. The beginning of the book can't start with the climax; it ends up being the most dull and boring stuff I have ever written.

  39. Discuss the chapter with other people, including non-writers! Sometimes other people see a "boring" chapter through a different lens. They may be able to provide insight into your current draft or even suggest ways you might be able to spice it up.

  40. Slowly and painfully. I really struggle with this at the beginning of my stories where the only goal of the scene is to introduce a status quo/characters. I already know these things so it's not as fun to write, it's basically fancy notes. However, as long as you do some of it in sessions, like even just one sentence, you will eventually get through it and keep the writing going.

  41. Actually I find these chapters in the middle of the story, I write and write their backstory at the beginning and then I get stuck at "boring chapters" because I don't have anything to write on them and it's just the actual story. Thanks for the tip though!

  42. Lots of great advice here. One thing I’d add that I didn’t see (but maybe I missed), is to consider the placement in the story. If you fit it after a lot of action and busier, more stimulating material, it can serve as a sort of break. Perhaps the prior events can inform this section: your character is doing b, but ruminating on a.

  43. Cut it. Your readers are smarter than you give them credit for and you don’t need to spell absolutely everything out for them. If YOU find it boring you can be absolutely positive that they do as well. So find some way to convey whatever you need to say far more concisely.

  44. If it's boring, it doesn't belong in your book. Either cut it out and gloss over whatever happens in that chapter in a brief paragraph, or find a way to make it not boring.

  45. If it is boring to you, why do you think it will interest a reader? When you come across such moments when reading, what do you wish the author had done instead?

  46. While the chapter is boring if your writing it try to put some facts or some character development so people are still learning about the characters but it not just from the main plot.

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