Is Your Story Boring?

young woman using laptop at home
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By Kenesha Collins 

Happy Memorial Day! The people closest to me know I have GREAT respect and admiration for those who have served or currently serving in the military. I tip my hat to all of you. I hope all women and men in the military have a blessed day today. Let us all take a moment and say a big THANK YOU to all military professionals in our lives. 

I would also like to thank everyone who has liked my posts, and/or started following me. I hope this dialogue inspires you in some way. I’m also on Instagram! I’m brand new to it so please bear with me as I learn all of the features on the platform. You can reach me @keneshacollinswriter. 

I’m currently at over 52,000 words of my debut urban romance novel. The target is 60,000, but we’ll see how it goes. As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m 100% pantsing this book. I didn’t write an outline, and I’m not using any notes. I write the scenes as they come to me. I decided to write a book with authentic characters in relationships. Drama on television and in books can be gripping and entertaining, but at times it can be very overdramatized. I like stories about people I can relate to. When writing a story about authentic characters, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. You want to write scenes that can happen in real life, but make sure they aren’t boring. The problem is that everyday life can be boring sometimes. 

When writing my own scenes, it was around page 154 that I noticed my story took a turn. It was a little too real. Dare I say it, it was boring. I had to restructure a few chapters to bring it back to life and make it more engaging. It worked, and actually changed the whole trajectory of the book. I’m also deciding to make the ending so unpredictable the reader would never see it coming. 

So how do you know your story is boring, and what can you do about it? Review your work, and consider the following. 

No character is one dimensional. 

The people I know are very complex. Their childhoods, relationships, careers, marriages or divorces shaped them into who they are. Everyone has had experiences that make them act and think a certain way. Think of the people in your own life, and how many layers you had to peel back to get the core of them. Do you have a friend that is deathly afraid of getting married again because they lost their shirt in a divorce? What makes them mad, happy, excited, aroused? Are your characters insecure, narcissistic, passive or aggressive? Dig deep, and bring their personalities to life. 

You find yourself in a hole you can’t get out of. 

There are times I run into a stumbling block that I can’t overcome. When it happens, I brainstorm other ways to make it work. Sometimes I step away from the story, take a hot shower, or get a good night’s sleep and come back to it. If I still can’t make it work, then I restructure certain scenes. Forcing a scene to work, and not letting it unfold naturally normally isn’t conducive to your story. 

You lose interest in what you’re writing. 

If you find your own mind wandering when writing your story that means it has become monotonous. You may need to add some gripping turn of events to make your story more exciting. I think about the things that make stories juicy and engaging. When reading books about relationships, the following topics always get and keep my attention: 

  • Sex 
  • Cheating
  • Love Triangles
  • Breaking up and making up
  • Unexpected pregnancies
  • Betrayal

Thousands of stories can be written about one or even all of the above, so the possibilities are endless. 

You don’t want anything “bad” to happen to your characters. 

You can become close to your characters when you spend months or years writing about them. My characters are a lot like me, and I want them to have good outcomes in life. We all know that life isn’t perfect, and bad things happen all the time. Some of the worst things happen to the best people. I chose the character I liked the most, and turned their world upside down. Create conflict that seems impossible to get out of. Don’t be afraid to take risks with their characters. 

 

 

Copyright © 2020 by Kenesha Collins 

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