boringFiction has been described as life with the boring parts taken out.

My life is mostly comprised of mundane routines like packing lunches, daily hygiene, carpools, swim lessons, football practice, work, fixing meals, folding laundry, washing dishes, etc. repeated daily. Yawn.

But when your toddler sticks a raisin up his nose … or your special needs child flushes her $300 glasses down the toilet … or your husband and teenaged son wage verbal warfare while you play referee … or your boss calls you on the carpet about your work product, life isn’t boring anymore. The additional stress and reaction to it reveal internal character and provide an opportunity to grow.

Fiction needs more than mundane episodes and minor irritations and interruptions to hold our interest. Fiction needs conflict to shake up the lives of the characters and force them to act.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

I’m currently working on chapter 21 (out of 30) of a contemporary romance and needed a scene to finish up the middle of the story as it builds toward the big black moment and the dramatic conclusion. I needed to show how the hero and heroine are growing closer in their relationship and relay some information about a test score so I thought I could have the girl leave a small gift and a note on his desk at work just to say she’s thinking about him and to pass along the test score.

Um, boring.

So, what did I do instead? I had her overhear a conversation, get jealous, and react by getting him a gift. And then to give it to him, she had to sneak into his office (the forbidden romance aspect of the book), almost get caught, berate herself for being so stupid, regret the secrecy, get scared when her cell phone rang, receive the test score information, write a quick note, and dash for safety while promising herself that something has to change.

Life might be boring, but fiction shouldn’t be.

What’s about you? How would you spice up the scene I wrote? Is your life boring or exciting? Which would you rather have? Which would you rather read about?

Life Might Be Boring, But Fiction Shouldn’t Be
Tagged on: