Writing an interesting novel is all about your ability to cut needless or boring information. When I was younger I often found myself thinking about why characters never go to the bathroom or do any mundane activities in books. I thought, “When I write a novel, MY characters will take bathroom breaks.” This is a weird thing to think about when you’re in middle school, but it’s safe to say I was a weirdo (I still am, don’t worry). As I got older, however, I realized why these things should NEVER happen.
• No one wants to read about your character doing things we do every day that ARE UNINTERESTING. The only time your characters should be in the bathroom is when they are staring at themselves in the mirror and thinking about life (avoid writing this scene because it’s overdone, but I know it happens). Maybe they’re checking their appearance or maybe they’re in high school and they’re hiding out from the school bully. The point is…WE DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHETHER THEY ARE POOPING OR PEEING. Especially in novels with a lot of action, we don’t want them to suddenly step away from your well-crafted scene and say “well, I gotta go take a wiz.” THAT’S why it doesn’t happen.
• Everything in your novel should drive the plot forward, not bring it to a screeching halt. When we take the time to describe over and over again what our characters are wearing or how they look or what they’re going to eat, we take away precious time we could be spending with more important character development. Explaining how your character dresses once is usually enough. Obviously there are circumstances where you need to continually explain what your character is wearing, but that isn’t normally the case. We want to hear about the love interest’s bulging muscles over and over again, especially if they have no depth whatsoever.
• I read because it takes me away from the normal world and transports me somewhere more interesting. I’m not saying my life isn’t interesting, but reading IS a form of escape. I don’t want to read about characters doing the same stupid crap I do all the time. I don’t want to hear about them taking a shower every chapter or how they lace up their shoes. CUT THIS INFORMATION. CUT IT NOW.
• You don’t want to waste everyone’s time. If someone reading your novel keeps waiting and waiting for your narrative to go somewhere, they’re going to get bored. You want it to be exciting so that people stay interesting. Anything unnecessary will only turn people off from your work. You need to be very careful about what you decide to include. The boring stuff is always unnecessary.
This post is mainly a way for me to yell at my middle school aged self for being so stupid…in case I get a time machine.Thank you for your time.