Thursday, 2 April 2015

A to Z Challenge 2015 - Emotions & Reactions - B is for Boredom (writing discussion & fiction)

A to Z Challenge 2015 - Emotions & Reactions









This year for the A to Z Challenge, I'm investigating emotions and reactions and their use to in writing. So, I'll be talking about my first thoughts as a writer when I think about the words we use to describe emotions and my experience of their use in literature and TV/Film.

boredom
boredom: the state of feeling weary and impatient because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one's current activity.

Well, this is a reaction that one can create in one’s characters, but never wants to do so in one’s readers ;P. Boredom, as a writer’s device, is actually one of my earlier memories of reading books on my own. If you have read the Mr Men books by Roger Hargreaves, you’ll be familiar with Mr Daydream, who befriends a boy called Jack. And the reason he is able to do so, is because Jack is bored with history class one day and begins to daydream.

In this way, boredom can be a jumping off point, a technique used quite regularly in children’s books. Alice’s interest in the White Rabbit in Alice’s Adventure’s In Wonderland, by Lewis Caroll, may be laid at the foot of her disinterest in sitting with her sister as the opening lines make very plain:
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or conversations?'
Boredom can also be used as a way of having a character miss an important point that you do not wish them to discover until later in the story. This is used to great effect in Agatha Christie’s A Caribbean Mystery, where the Major is such an old bore with his stories that Miss Marple does not pay enough attention to what he is saying about an old murder, meaning that, when he, in his turn, is murdered, the motive is less clear than it might have been, making the investigation all the more interesting for the reader.

If a character is bored, there is a chance the reader could become so as well, so it’s a device that needs to be used with care, but when it is used well, it can be very effective.

QUESTION: What's a worse offence for a story that you are reading: being confusing, or being boring?

~

For more information about Sophie's books, sign up for The Wittegen Press Newsletter:

Wittegen PressWe'll send you details of book releases, competitions and other news from our authors, BUT we WON'T spam you, or pass your details on to anyone else.

We will also give you 2 FREE ebooks just for signing up.

* indicates required



46 comments:

  1. I think being boring is worse. Confusing I'll at least keep reading to see if it clears up later. Boredom will just put me to sleep and I'll put the book down.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm not sure I could keep reading a book if it was boring or confusing. The idea is took keep the reader interested.
    I’m also doing the A to Z challenge, Organize Home Life on http://AMomsPointOfView.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So both are as bad for you :) Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  3. Being boring is worse - if it's confusing, it just makes you work harder to figure it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a theme developing here - boring seems to be coming out worse than confusing :)

      Delete
  4. Bored is worse. Confusion can actually keep me interested to see what is really going on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose it can, especially if it's deliberate.

      Delete
  5. Being boring without a doubt - I just cannot forgive that. Confusion I can work out, but boredom, no way.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree, being bored is a worse offense. At times, I might blame my confusion on myself for not "getting" it hehe. But boredom, no, not my fault. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - I suppose there is more room for self-blame with confusion!

      Delete
  7. I'd rather be confused--at least then there is hope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a pertinent point - confusion can always be cleared, boredom not always so much :)

      Delete
  8. I think boring is worse. A lot of books these days don't challenge their readers, they just try to make everything as dummy-proof as possible. Boring is baaaad.
    It is also surprisingly hard to make a character bored, mostly because us writers are usually excited about everything that happens in the story :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a shame - it's not just books, either, sometimes TV shows can be pedestrian in their approach.

      You make a good point about trying to make a character bored, if they are it might be an indication that you, as the writer are getting that way too :)

      Delete
  9. That was an interesting take on boredom. Last time (2012) previous to this year that I participated in AtoZ I wrote about Boring, but this was a place ... http://dave-homeschooldad.blogspot.com/2012/04/boring-nice-place-to-visit.html

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think things get invented when one is bored :) and hopefully people don't get into much trouble when they are bored :) I think boring over confusion. If I'm confused I might try to figure it out. If I'm bored, I'll put the book down and probably not pick it up again.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was always told when I was a child that there was no such thing as 'boring' because it was me being lazy and not entertaining myself :)

      Delete
  11. When a character in a book is bored, I'm not necessarily bored by that. I get bored when an author gives me more information than I need. I write tight, and I appreciate it when other authors write tight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Information dumps can be so tedious! Every writer has to be careful that there is enough, but not too much information on the page.

      Delete
  12. Right now I have so many WIPs I can't afford to be bored!

    --
    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Vampires
    http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we writers have an advantage over those who are 'imaginationally' challenged - I haven't been bored in years, always some other world to pop off to in my head :)

      Delete
  13. A confusing story can still be tolerated and there is a hope that all the tangles will get sorted. But a boring story.... a big No!!
    Co-Host AJ's wHooligan for the A to Z Challenge 2015

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the opinion is so far unanimous :)

      Delete
  14. Boring is slightly worse than confused. Boring just makes me skim to an interesting part, but then I have to backtrack. I don't like backtracking. Sigh. Confusion makes me frustrated so I have to reread bits, and I hate to have to reread a paragraph to figure out what is going on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So anything that requires a reread is bad - I see your point.

      Delete
  15. I agree with djinnia! Or when everything is flowing well with one character but the direct dialogue with the other character is unequal and slower as if the two characters have no connection it breaks the pace or rhythm and I can find that boring as well.
    http://sytiva.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd never thought about it in those terms, but, I agree, the rhythm of a scene is very important, I can see how it could throw you out of reading and make it boring.

      Delete
  16. I haven't finished some books because they were too boring and took way too long to take on any sort of plot trajectory. I love books which are deliberately slower-paced and more about character development over a long time, instead of fast-paced and plot-centric, but even a slower-paced book needs to be hung on some kind of arc and have interesting characters and scenes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I've grown older, I have started to appreciate some character based stories, but they do have to be interesting characters, you're right.

      Delete
  17. I'm bored all the time! As for reading, I get bored with a story when nothings going on and the characters aren't engaging.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can deal with one of those issues, but both together and, yeah, it's time to put the book down.

      Delete
  18. I'm bored all the time! As for reading, I get bored with a story when nothings going on and the characters aren't engaging.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The Cat in the Hat did an excellent job getting me interest in characters who are bored when I was younger. Good tool to have, as it makes the reader hope something exciting will turn that boring day around. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kids' books are a great source of obvious boredom turning into something magical :) I'd forgotten about good ol' Dr Seus!

      Delete
  20. I'd say boring. With confusing, you MIGHT be able to straighten it all out eventually. Boring is unredeemable! Either way, though, if it doesn't catch me in the Amazon sample, I probably won't even buy the book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting - I don't very often read the Amazon sample - only if the books is over say $2.99 would I bother :)

      Delete
  21. That's a hard one. Confusing makes me think I'm maybe not clever enough to figure it out, but I'll keep going doggedly. Bored, I just give up! It's definitely a good catalyst for action in characters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that makes it unanimous - boring is way worse than confusing :)

      Delete
  22. I'd say both are a turn off but boring is probably worse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And one more sealing the death knell of 'boring' :)

      Delete
  23. LOL yeah definitely not something you want your reader to feel.

    Anna @ herding cats & burning soup

    ReplyDelete
  24. Confusing. I'm willing to give it a few more pages for boring, because I hang on to the idea that it will get better EVENTUALLY. But confusing, nope, I'll toss that aside for a day when I can't sleep and want to numb my mind. LOL.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear from you. :)