I heard dragons devour authors who write boring books. Or maybe dragons burn the books. I can’t remember.
You know what deflects boredom? Not reading a boring book.
I hate waiting. Groans, pleadings, cries for mercy come from my side of the car at every red light. Why? Anger covers my boredom. Makes the dull moments manageable. I’m not emotionally engaged in the bored moment until I’m angry.
Love can work the same way. Humans are intolerable. We’re writers, so we can admit that little secret. But love makes me want to be with my wife every second of every day.
Postmodern America. Emotions reign as king. Emotion is truth. Science is proved and disproved and proved again with no answers to the meaning of life. Philosophy is depressing, and worse, confusing. Religion builds massive structures then erects signs to advertise like banks, promising huge rewards for deposits. How can that be truth?
To most, how I feel is the only motivation that matters. It’s the only truth we can verify. We’re told we can’t control how others feel, only ourselves. So if we control our stimuli, or situations, then we can have a pretty good time.
Kaffee: “I think I’m entitled to.”
Col. Jessep: “You want answers?”
Kaffee: “I want the truth!”
Col. Jessep: “You can’t handle the truth!” AFGM
Readers desperately want to feel their pain reflected back through our work. They want joy. They want boredom squashed. They want to learn so they can feel as if they are getting smarter. Evoke emotion!
Gardening. Just kidding. Gardening is awesome.
Sometimes we see the world in a problem/solution kind of way. Society and religion, yes, they have problems. But we use our fiction to dispense solutions. That’s not art. That’s propaganda. Stop it. It’s boring. The line is too fine to walk. Focus on story, and if there’s a statement in there somewhere, great!
Tension on every page? It’s a cheap emotion and readers grow immune. Vary emotions like you would vary sentence structure.
What’s exciting for some is boring for others. Vary the thrills.
Counterpoints can be set out like drinks for every problem that enters the café. But there’s one truth we can’t get around. Boring doesn’t sell well, unless the professor assigns it. Emotionally engage your reader. Give them something to feel. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll feel alive.