Let’s Bore Readers to Death

Ten ways to kill your story, and quite possibly, your career.

  1. Choose a worn-out, generic title. Maybe no one will even bother to pick up the book.
  2. Create a soft protagonist who doesn’t have enough grit to take action.
  3. Open with a long sentence about the weather that has nothing to do with the story.
  4. Open with a long description of the room where your character is, especially if the room has nothing to do with the story.
  5. Open with a long narrative of your character’s background, including when and where his grandparents met, especially when it has nothing to do with the story.
  6. Record every bit of dialog spoken, along with descriptive little tags for those bits. Be sure to include bits that have nothing to do with the story.
  7. Ramble.
  8. Add filler.
  9. Repeat  yourself.
  10. Whatever you do, tell us what’s going on with lots of passive description, but never, ever engage us by showing the action.

If  you follow these ten easy steps, no one will finish your book or want to look at anything else you write.


6 Replies to “Let’s Bore Readers to Death”

  1. Good job, K.D. An equally important question: how can you help an author to read his own work, as opposed to watching it play out in his head? Several authors I’ve dealt with seem to see only what they intended to convey rather than what they actually wrote.

    1. Good question, Doug. I think the best way to cure this inability to be objective about one’s own work is to let sufficient time pass, then go back and read it again. Maybe, if they were to hear someone else read it aloud, the flaws in their work would stand out. An open mind (and willingness to listen and learn) is key.

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