I’m currently 2100 words into Chapter 2 of my current project (why is it so hard for me to come up with a working title?) and I’m learning all over again why reading and studying the craft of writing can never replace good, old-fashioned practice.
Chapter 2 has a lot of character development. I mean a lot. So here’s how my inner dialogue went today:
Me 1: This chapter is boooring.
Me 2: Hey, it’s character development. That’s interesting.
Me 1: *Snore*
Me 2: It’s not like you have to have something exploding on every page.
Me 1: Right. But I’m bored writing it. Who on earth would want to read it?
Me 2: People who are mature enough to handle scenes of character development. Is it really that bad?
Me 1: Yes.
Me 2: But character development isn’t boring!
Me 1: It is if that’s ALL THAT’S HAPPENING.
That was my light bulb moment.
I’ve done enough reading and studying in the past several years to know that every scene in a given story has to do more than one thing: Develop character, advance the plot, and show the setting.
Develop character, advance the plot, show the setting. I could say it in my sleep. With both hands tied behind my back.
Of course my chapter was boring – I wasn’t advancing the plot or showing the setting. Yes, I was doing a great job developing character, but even the most fascinating character will lose your reader if plot and setting are ignored.
For some reason, it took me a long time to realize that that was the solution to my boring chapter.
Writing blinds me to my own weakness. Writing more shows me it’s there. Writing even more reveals the answer.
Practice, practice, practice.