Friday, February 24, 2006

What's the hardest part of a novel to write?

The action scenes? The dialogues? The beginning? Climax?

Nope, none of the above. It's those horrible dull bits. Because you've got to write them so they aren't dull.

It's the bits that, if you leave them out, readers are going to ask: "But how did he get to town when the last scene was back on the farm?" or "But how did she know that the boy was named Martin, when we haven't read a scene where she was told?"

They are the necessary bits that explain the grounding of your plot, yet are intrinsically dull in their explanation. You don't really want to have to explain, "Well, first he walked to the main road, then he hitched a ride with the farmer down the road who just happened to be going into town to buy some chicken feed even though it wasn't market day." Or, "She went to the dressmaker's, and while she was there, this woman called Annie came in, and she happened to mention in a passing conversation with the dressmaker that John's son was her gardener and his name was Martin."

Leave out the explanation, and you'll get creamed by your readers; put it in and you'll bore them the tears. They are the hardest bits to write!

5 comments:

Anghara said...

It's the ROUTINE. The routine runs our days, and it is perfectly acceptaable that it will run our characters' days too - they have to eat, they have to sleep, unless they are ALL lost princesses awaiting a return to the throne they supposedly work for a living and have jobs - all of which is daily ROUTINE. Adventure happens around it. But finding a road through it without bogging down... is not trivial.

Bernita said...

Tedious.
Irritating.
Frustrating.
Yup.

Glenda Larke said...

The routine, yes! How did they feed the horses on that journey? Themselves? A recent problem from the Mirage Makers - what do you do about the toilet arrangements of hundreds of hundreds of men hiding up in an aqueduct? Do you not mention it? (And have the reader muttering about it under their breath?) Or describe the solution in detail? (When really the reader doesn't want to know?)Ah, the literary problems one has with the mundane!

Anonymous said...

As to your original question ...

I'd answer, All of it!!!! *gg*

But you're right, the whole getting them out the door stuff is boggling. Deciding the best way to get characters from A to C without describing every last tedious detail yet not confusing them ... aieee!

Anonymous said...

Surely that's too much info.. I mean you can make a reference to it, but then you don't really want to describe it, right ? :)