"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Leaving Out the Dull Bits

Clive James once said, "Fiction is life with the dull bits left out."

While James is not wrong, what about when the fiction itself is dull?

Today, I pulled out a piece I wrote several months ago. It's just the first draft of one scene, but it isn't nearly as brilliant as I remember it being. I'm sure this happens to every writer. After all, how often have we felt like the picture to the left?

The trouble is: it's a first draft and I still need to flesh it out. Too many writers give up because they don't want to work, or they feel like they can't do the work, or worse yet - the work isn't worth the effort.

If you've ever felt like you didn't know where to go with your story, try one of the below aids to help you flesh out your story. After all, you must have plenty of life in a story before you can remove those dull bits.

Planninghttp://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/7-steps-to-creating-a-flexible-outline-for-any-story

Hookhttp://writeitsideways.com/6-ways-to-hook-your-readers-from-the-very-first-line/

Characterizationhttp://www.epiguide.com/ep101/writing/charchart.html

Dialoguehttp://creativewritingguild.com/tips-tricks/9-tricks-for-writing-organic-dialogue/

Page-Turnerhttp://marcykennedy.com/2013/02/four-tips-to-keep-readers-turning-pages/

Middlehttp://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/sagging-middle.html

Ending - http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-structure-a-killer-novel-ending

What helps you flesh out your story and then remove the dull bits? Any favorite quotes on the subject?

5 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like that graphic.
I know mine will be bare bones, because that's just how I write. So a bare first draft doesn't scare me. It's like it's in black and white and I have to work to make it color.

Sylvia Ney said...

Alex - I really like that description! We have to add the color.

KAT Writer said...

It is so disappointing when you re-read something and it is not as good as you remember. On the plus side you know it can be better and you probably already have a great idea in your head on where you want to go with the work to improve it, and hey, it can only get better.

Good luck with your rewriting.

Thanks for all the links to check out. I had only visited one of the sites before.

Sylvia Ney said...

KAT - You are most welcome. I hope you find something useful in the links!

Crystal Collier said...

You know, it's definitely not the norm, but I find if I let a story develop organically and allow my subconscious the time to fully develop it, I only have to go through a couple edits and it's ready for the world. Conversely, if I force the words out and plot intensely and contrive how this story is going to go, I'm fifteen to twenty edits into having a great story. I really think everyone has a process, they just have to discover what works best for them.