Blah Blah Boring

September 24, 2010

I’ve a character in my novel who needs to explain a few things to the heroine. He needs to tell about what happened when he went to the Red Lion Inn a few days ago…its very important to the plot, so it must be done. This information must be revealed and he has to tell her . It can’t come across in flashbacks or a dream sequence or any other writer-trick, because the book’s written in the heroine’s voice, first person. He tells her the news and she tells the reader, and, of course, she reacts and converses back at him and tells the reader all about that, too.

Sounds simple?


It’s actually quite painful to write an explanation. Though necessary, the detail is tedious and it feels like it takes too long to impart. I’ve tried breaking it down into chunks, and delivering it via dialogue, interspersed with the heroines’ wry observations and her own lively reactions, but still it comes across like some kind of boring legal document, overloaded with detail after detail:

And so, in part a, subsection i, sub-subsection 1.0, the man then followed the other man down the street to the physicians.

In part a, subsection i, sub-section 1.1, the man waited outside the physician’s house for the man to reappear…

Either that, or I have a bad case of the “and then’s”, such as:

And then he followed him down the street. And then he waited outside. And then he saw a body being carried to a horse cart. And then…

ARG! How do I make this explanation less boring? Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated!


  1. Okay. This might sound crazy, but I suggest cutting out as much as you can. Leave just enough for the reader to be able to tell what happened. When you have that done, add some details, reactions, etc. but again, keep it sparse. If something isn’t absolutely necessary, it goes. That might make things flow better.

    • Yes, I agree! It keeps feeling clunky and overwhelming and it needs to be pared down.

      Thanks for this advice!

      Julie J.

  2. I feel your pain! It sounds like you’re doing the right things. Maybe just write the thing, then something will come to you later during revision. At least this way you’ll be past that point and you can move on. My two cents!

    • Thanks! That is also good advice!

      I’ve worked myself into quite the knot over this. I’ve now got a bout of writer’s block…can’t seem to move forward, can’t seem to fix it and get it right. I’ve been spinning my wheels for a while now…

      I’ll give myself to the end of this weekend to try 1 more time, and then I’m going to take your advice and make myself let it go. I’ll put a note to self in my MS: Deal with this section later!

      Thanks for dropping by, Julie!

      Julie J.

  3. Can she discover a receipt? Notice some significant dirt and ask? Notice his reaction when someone ELSE says something about the Red Lion?

    But then perhaps you’ve solved this problem if looking at your more recent blog posts is any indication. 🙂
    Wishing you joy of writing minus the ‘wherefores’ and ‘furthers’!

    • These are all good suggestions…and I tho I’ve moved on, I am still struggling with this scene in re-writes/editing so any advise is helpful!

      PS I knew it was you @Inkgypsy in spite of your #ufchat alias! 🙂
      Thanks for dropping by!

      Julie J.

  4. Actually the comment above (and this one) was by InkGypsy – apparently WordPress still has me logged in as UFchat. As I rarely visit wordpress blogs it’s a pain to keep changing. Sorry!

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