Thursday, November 29, 2007

Save Your Characters from Being Boring

Ever wonder why you don't see characters paying their bills? Because it's boring!

I know that because I do that. I pay the bills. And it's

Unless paying the bills has something to do with the plot, it's probably best to leave it out. Don't put in boring, mundane tasks just to increase the word count. When you are editing, stop and ask yourself if what the character is doing is interesting, moves the plot forward, establishes the character, or in some way greatly contributes to the manuscript.

If it doesn't meet one of those criteria, seriously think about cutting it. Or try to think of some way the character could pay the bills that would make it more interesting or show his/her character in a unique way.

If your goal is to demonstrate that the character is in reality boring, then come up with a way to show it so that while the task may be mundane, your way of telling it is not.

Part of your editing process should be to cut the boring stuff. If it's really not necessary for the reader to see it, then cut it. That includes a lot of walking from the house to the car. Certainly includes the fifteen times in the book that your character picks up the phone and says, "Hello." Cut out the introductions, get to the meat of the conversation or encounter. Your protagonist doesn't have to feed the cat every time he comes into the house in order for the reader to know he has a cat and he's responsible in the way he cares for it.

Cut the boring so you won't bore your readers.

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