Saturday, April 30, 2011

Y is for Yawn

Dear Yawn,

You are something that we, as writers, should try to avoid making our readers do unless the reason they are yawning is because they're so engrossed in a book that they're up half the night reading it.  Yawning because they find the book boring--we want to avoid that as much as possible.

There is no magic solution to creating a non-boring book.  Everyone has different tastes.  What I find terribly exciting when I'm reading might be boring as all get out to someone else.  That's okay.  But if every single person reading your book is really bored, something needs to change.  There are many different ways to spice up a book a little--it depends on what you're writing, genre, characters, world, situation, etc..  What's "exciting" in an adventure story is going to be very different from what's "exciting" in a romance.

Here's hoping that most "yawns" from readers are ones of exhaustion from reading too long and not yawns of boredom.

A Writer

*As I mentioned, everyone's idea of exciting is different.  What kind of stories do you write, and do you have particular things you do if you feel like your writing is starting to drag?  Do you cut some things?  Do you throw in a twist and have something unexpected happen?


  1. I know what you mean about different strokes for different folks. I enjoy character development and am not nearly as fussed about "telling" as some people seem to be. I've read a lot of really good books that I enjoyed thoroughly that were telling all the time.

    I get bored with too much action.

  2. You've made some interesting observations and I enjoyed reading all your comments.
    My first novel, after years of rewrites, revisions, and edits, was complete at 86K+ words until I read through the story one last time. Now it is approximately 77K. Cutting scenes and tightening up dialogue is my cure of choice for reducing yawns. (I hope it works.)

  3. Haha! I love this. Say "no" to Yawns. :) Funny though, the previous commenter had to cut words, I have to add words! Sometimes ADDING detail makes a book less yawn-worthy.

  4. The book I most associate with the "yawn factor" is Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card. I stayed up till 4 am reading it, and had to work at 6am. After work, instead of going to bed, I read it again.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!